Canadian brakewoman Jennifer Cionetti, left, and pilot Helen Upperton celebrate their World Cup bobsleigh victory Saturday in Winterberg, Germany. (Eckehard Schulz/Associated Press)

Canada's Helen Upperton and Jennifer Ciochetti won the season-opening World Cup women's bobsleigh event in Winterberg, Germany, on Saturday.

Edmonton's Pierre Lueders and David Bissett settled for a fifth-place finish in the men's event.

Upperton, from Calgary, piloted her team to a two-run combined time of one minute 55.86 seconds to upset reigning world and Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis.

The German finished 0.25 of a second behind despite having the fastest time in the second run.

Kathleen Marini, also of Germany, was third in 1:56.39.

"It was definitely nice to get some redemption here in Winterberg," said Upperton, who was third in the World Cup standings last season but finished fifth on the challenging German track.

"The weather changes so fast here and it makes it difficult for selecting the proper runners for the conditions. But today fate was on our side and we put all our preparation together to get onto the podium."

Kaillie Humphries of Calgary and brakewoman Shelly-Ann Brown finished sixth in 1:56.62, while Calgary pilot Lisa Szabon and Amanda Moreley were eighth in 1:57.25.

The men's event was won by rookie pilot Beat Hefti of Switzerland in a time of 1:51.79.

Olympic champion Andre Lange took second in 1:51.96, while fellow German Thomas Florschütz rounded out the podium in third [1:52.09].

Lueders and Bisset clocked in at 1:52.26 to claim the fifth spot, while Lyndon Rush of Humboldt, Sask., and Calgary brakeman Lascelles Brown finished 14th in 1:52.76.