CHAMONIX, France — Five years after his first World Cup podium on the same course, Italian Dominik Paris mastered tricky conditions at the French Alpine resort of Chamonix to win a men's World Cup downhill race ahead of American veteran Steven Nyman on Saturday.
Paris finished second in Friday's Alpine combined race and carried that form over into the downhill, flying through the fog and heavy snowfall on the soft and powdery La Verte des Houches course for a fifth career win and 13th podium.
His first podium came here when he was an up-and-coming skier, placing second place behind Swiss skier Didier Cuche in 2011.
"It's been a good course for me. I was very precise and very aggressive," the 26-year-old Paris said through a translator. "I was a bit surprised, because even though I was confident after yesterday it was still a very difficult course. So you're never sure of yourself."
The Italian clocked 1 minute, 58.38 seconds to finish .35 clear of Nyman and .39 ahead of Swiss racer Beat Feuz, who secured his 20th podium.
Vancouver's Manuel Osborne-Paradis was seventh and Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was eighth.
Paris, who has won four of his five career races in downhill, feels he is gradually finding his best form late on in the season.
"Things started getting better for me in January, after my performances in Wengen (fourth in downhill) and Kitzbuehel (fifth in super-G)," he said. "So that's why I'm able to produce this kind of performance now."
The 34-year-old Nyman is also peaking late following what he called a "rough start to the year," which he attributed to equipment issues. He placed third in the downhill at the South Korean resort of Jeongseon two weeks ago and now has eight career podiums.
"Two podiums in a row, hopefully I can keep it rolling until the end of the season," Nyman said. "I had some questions in my head and when you have those doubts and those questions you're never fully sending it down the hill like you should."
Poor visibility hampered Nyman's run and ultimately cost him a shot at victory.
"I had a mistake on the first split. The vision is the hard part, with the snow and the flat light today and the lines kind of changed," Nyman said. "Hats off to my ski technician, he prepared some rocket ships and I'm good at tucking so I really had a good bottom (section). But Dominik, that guy has some kilos on him and some fast skis, and he took me down."
Nyman said obscured visibility on a downhill course can make racers rely on instinct and faith in their memory of the terrain.
"It's all what you've convinced yourself of, going down the course and really throwing yourself over those blind rolls, over that terrain you know has bumps but you can't see," he said. "So you just have to get your body in a position and go with it. You're going in there with a doubt in your mind. It is like, 'This is what I think it is and I'm going to go that way.'"
It's more exciting — for the spectators at least — though Nyman would "rather have good light so you can see where you're going."
Guillermo Fayed of France, who has two downhill podiums this season, missed out on a third, placing fourth — .80 behind Paris.
Peter Fill of Italy took fifth to close the gap on downhill leader Aksel Lund Svindal, who is out injured for the rest of the season.
Fill is 26 points behind Svindal, and 69 points ahead of Frenchman Adrien Theaux, who placed sixth in Saturday's race.
It has been a demoralizing weekend for defending downhill and super-G champion Kjetil Jansrud. The Norwegian finished 21st on Saturday, a day after missing out on the Alpine combined title to Frenchman Alexis Pinturault.
Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press