Marcel Hirscher won the slalom title in Levi today ©Getty Images

Austrian ace Marcel Hirscher powered to victory in the opening slalom race of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Cup season in Levi in Finland.

The 27-year-old, winner of the overall World Cup title for five years in a row, was a familiar name on top of the podium after he was quickest down in both of his runs.

Hirscher, second on home snow on October 23 in Solden as a giant slalom race opened the season, went down in 53.11sec first time around and backed that up with a swifter time of 51.56sec in the second run.

That gave the quadruple world champion and Olympic silver medallist a winning combined time of 1min 44.67sec.

His success came despite an ear infection which nearly forced his withdrawal, with his goggles also icing up on the first run due to frozen fog.

This was Hirscher's 40th World Cup win, with compatriot Michael Matt claiming the silver medal in 1:45.97.

Italy took the bronze medal with Manfred Moelgg timed at 1:45.98.

Dave Ryding achieved the best British result since 2001 after coming sixth ©Getty Images
Dave Ryding achieved the best British result since 2001 after coming sixth ©Getty Images

Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen, the overall slalom champion last season, was not on the start-list today.

According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, this was due to a sponsorship dispute with his National Federation. 

As with all winners in Levi, Hirscher was allowed to name a reindeer thanks to his success.

There was a credible performance from Britain's Dave Ryding, who earned his country's best World Cup result since 2001 by coming sixth.

His time of 53.57sec was the third quickest first run as he eventually finished in 1:46.24.

The Alpine World Cup season is now due to head to North America, with the men contesting downhill and super-G in Lake Louise in Canada on November 26 and 27 respectively.

The women will race in Killington in the United States, with giant slalom on November 26 before slalom on November 27.