Elisabeth Vathje took home the first skeleton World Cup medal of the season, winning gold in the women’s event in Whistler.

The Canadian opened the competition with a commanding lead, registering the fastest opening run in a time 54.52 seconds. Vathje’s impressive run made her the one to chase heading into the final round.

Related: Skeleton rookie Vathje slides to world championships bronze

With a competitive field including the German defending world champion Tina Herrman, anything could happen in the final run. However, the Canadian’s impressive second start of 4.95s – the fastest of any medal contender – gave her an early lead, which allowed her cross the line in 54.74s. Vathje’s gold medal and a combined time of 1:49s came after she clocked the two fastest runs in the competition.

Related: Vathje wins first skeleton gold at home

Germans Jacqueline Loelling and Hermann finished second (+0.84) and third (0.86) respectively. Canada’s Mirela Rahneva made her first world cup appearance one to remember, with a fifth place finish and a combined time of 1:50.58s.

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Next up, on the ice track is the two-man bobsleigh, before the IBSF World Cup action resume on Saturday. Fans can watch the competition at the Whistler Sliding Centre, or live stream the event on cbcsport.ca.