Ted Ligety will aim to build momentum ahead of the FIS Ski World Championships in the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup combined race at Wengen.
Ted Ligety begins his quest to win the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup combined title and build towards next month's FIS Ski World Championships in Wengen on Friday.
The American - an Olympic gold medallist in the combined in 2006 and in the giant slalom in 2014 - enjoyed a superb campaign in last season's World Cup.
Ligety won the giant slalom title for the fifth time and added the combined crown to his list of honours by finishing on the podium in each of the two World Cup events in the discipline.
Victory in Wengen last term provided the springboard for last term's combined success, which he shared with Alexis Pinturault after the Frenchman finished with an identical record.
And, with the World Championships coming up next month in Beaver Creek, Colorado - where he will defend the title he won in Schladming two years ago - Ligety will be keen to ensure a strong performance in central Switzerland.
However, Ligety will need to rediscover his consistency if he is to challenge for top spot on the podium in Wengen.
Ligety does have one victory and four podium finishes to his name this season but has also been out of the top 10 on four occasions.
Coming seventh in the giant slalom and 22nd in the slalom at Adelboden last weekend will not have done much for his confidence and he is sure to face plenty of competition from some familiar faces.
Pinturault, bronze medallist in the giant slalom at the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year, has once again impressed after coming third in the overall standings in 2013-14.
He has already been on the podium five times and, with 429 points to his name, is well in contention for another top-three finish.
Croatian Ivica Kostelic - the last outright winner of the combined World Cup crown - shares the record for the most combined World Cup wins (five) with Benjamin Raich, and will bid to take sole possession of that honour with his first victory of the season.
Home hope and reigning combined Olympic champion Sandro Viletta is another likely contender, while speed race specialist Kjetil Jansrud heads into the race aiming to bridge the 212-point gap to Marcel Hirscher atop the overall standings.
The combined title will be settled a week on Friday in the second and final race in Kitzbuhel and, despite the high level of competition, the pressure will be on Ligety to show that he is ready to defend his World Championship title on home snow.