Vonn narrowly avoided a disastrous crash on the second jump of the course at Val d'Isere and flew to a winning time of 1 minute, 51.42 seconds -- .68 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Nadia Kamer.
"I made a really big mistake on the top part of the course and I honestly thought I would not be able to win the race," Vonn said. "I just tried to stay in my tuck as much as I could, be clean and ski aggressively."
Lara Gut of Switzerland was third and American Julie Mancuso came in eighth. German star Maria Riesch finished 24 and now leads the overall World Cup standings by a modest 52 points over Vonn.
The contestants will be back on the slopes at Val d'Isere Sunday for the super combined.
NBC reportedly holds celebs hostage to Jimmy Fallon's show
Ray Liotta sues skin care company over use of likeness