Martins Dukurs has won everything there is in men's skeleton, except an Olympic gold medal. And the Latvian has already established himself as the one to catch in that regard this season.

He started the World Cup season Friday with yet another victory, the 49th of his career. This is the seventh time in the last nine seasons Dukurs has opened the year with a victory. He grabbed the early lead in the points standings as he pursues a ninth consecutive World Cup overall title.

​Dukurs had the fastest time in each of the two heats, winning in one minute, 47.54 seconds. Yun Sungbin of South Korea finished in 1:47.65 to take silver, and Russia's Alexander Tretiakov was third in 1:47.71.

Dave Greszczyszyn was the top Canadian with a 13th-place finish, while fellow countrymen Kevin Boyer and Barrett Martineau were 14th and 16th, respectively. 

After the race, Dukurs said something that might have left his competition even more chilled than the sub-zero wind chill did at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

"The target was not to be the best here, but obviously, I was trying really hard," Dukurs said. "Still, I have some things to figure out."

Meanwhile, Geng Wenqiang became the first Chinese man to compete in a World Cup skeleton race, finishing seventh

With files from CBC Sports