Bode Miller had a good opening downhill training run in difficult conditions at the venue of the 2003 world championships, where he won three medals.
The men's World Cup hasn't raced in St. Moritz since then and Miller is one of the few active skiers to have ever competed in the Swiss resort. The American veteran won gold in the giant slalom and the combined and silver in the Super-G at the 2003 worlds.
But Miller said that may not be a big advantage as he doesn't remember much from the course 11 years ago.
"It was so long ago," the 36-year-old Miller said after finishing second in Thursday's training run.
"I used to remember everything. Maybe I am getting too old."
Miller trailed Max Franz of Austria by just .03 seconds.
Saturday's downhill and Sunday's giant slalom are the last races before the Sochi Olympics.
A lot of snow fell on the course overnight and organizers were forced to lower the start. The weekend events replace the races originally slated for Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, which were cancelled because of a lack of snow.
Here, the opposite may be the problem, with more snow forecast into the weekend.
Franz covered the 2,274-metre Corviglia course in one minute, 37.72 seconds, with Miller .03 seconds behind. Matthias Mayer of Austria was third, 0.16 back, with Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver, B.C. in fourth, 0.23 adrift.
Osborne-Paradis has been in the top 10 this season, but is looking for his first World Cup podium appearance in four years.
Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant, Que. was 28th, ahead of teammates Jan Hudec of Calgary, Morgan and Conrad Pridy of Whistler, B.C., and Ben Thomsen of Invermere, B.C.