Walchhofer, who also leads in the super-G category, turned in a combined-run time of 1 minute, 34.35 seconds about 1 second ahead of Germany's Stephan Keppler and third-place finisher Erik Guay of Canada.
The victory was Walchhofer's 17th career World Cup victory and the first podium finish for Keppler.
Austria enjoyed a good day with five Top-10 finishers. Bode Miller was the top American finisher with a 1:36.45 that placed 16th.
The racing took place despite a blinding snowfall that obscured vision on the course. The snow was bad enough that nearly 450 flights in Germany were grounded and the women's World Cup super-G in Val d'Isere, France, was canceled due to 3 feet of new snow on the course.
Snow conditions at Val Gardena were described as relatively firm although 15 skiers failed to finish in the first run alone.