Petra Vlhova began her slalom season with victory in Levi today ©Getty Images

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova beat all-conquering American Mikaela Shiffrin to the top of the podium as the women's International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Cup season continued with slalom in Levi in Finland.

The 22-year-old Shiffrin, the reigning Olympic and world champion in the discipline, won the overall World Cup title last year following a dominant season which included 11 race wins.

Today belonged to Vlhova, however, the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic champion.

She picked up where she left off after winning the final slalom race of last season at the World Cup Final in Aspen in the United States.

The Slovakian was second fastest behind Shiffrin after the first run, clocking 55.87sec to her rival's 55.66.

She clicked into gear on run two, however, storming down the Arctic Circle course in 54.11, the quickest time of the day to end on a combined 1min 49.98sec.

Shiffrin also improved second time around but her run of 54.42 saw her finish on 1:50.08 and in second place.

As is tradition in Levi, Vhlova was awarded a baby reindeer after her victory which will live on a nearby farm.

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova was awarded a reindeer which she named Igor after her father ©Getty Images
Slovakia's Petra Vlhova was awarded a reindeer which she named Igor after her father ©Getty Images

She named it Igor after her father.

"I won the last race and it was difficult to continue so I'm really happy because it was a really tough day," said Vlhova after the first slalom of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic season.

"It's amazing because like I tell Mikaela, she is really strong and fast. 

"So for me, it is the best day today."

Wendy Holdener of Switzerland came third with a combined time of 1:51.33.

After two races of the new season, Shiffrin has managed to go top of the overall standings with 125 points.

The men's slalom is due to be held in Levi tomorrow.

It will be the opening leg of their World Cup campaign after giant slalom action in Soleden, Austria, was cancelled due to high winds last month.