Tanja Poutiainen held her nerve to take the ladies giant slalom at La Molina, in Spain, on Saturday.
The Finn maintained her form through the second run to finish in 2:16:76. Manuela Moelgg of Italy was second, a mere 02/100 behind, with Nicol Hosp at a further 65/100 off the pace, in third.
World number one Kathrin Zettel was out in front after the first run, but the 22-year-old failed to complete her second descent and tumbled out when it mattered.
The Cerdanya Catalunya course was bathed in bright sunshine as the field attempted to hunt down the flying Austrian Zettel and it was compatriot Michaela Kirchgasser who set out a competitive marker early on of 2:18:20 overall.
The likes of Anja Paerson, who skied out, Olympic giant slalom champion Julia Mancuso and Tina Maze could not match that blistering pace although the latter was in second for a time before dropping to ninth.
Tessa Worley continued her good start to the season and the 19-year-old French racer came in eighth. Denise Karbon was going well but her vim and vigour were her undoing as the Italian missed a gate to be eliminated.
Kirchgasser was finally overhauled by another Austrian, Elisabeth Goergl who was at her flowing best to post 1:10:15 for an overall 2:18.18.
From then on it was a matter of each competitor attempting to outdo each other. Hosp, who was well positioned in fifth after the first run, edged in front by 77/100, only for Poutiainen to produce a gritty attack to steal first place.
Moelgg did all she could but came up just short and then the pressure got to the previously flawless Zettel who lost her style early on and crashed out.
Lindsey Vonn, who was looking to join that elite club of competitors who have earned World Cup wins in all five disciplines, made a mistake in the early part of her first run and as the American forced the issue, she then skied out soon after and will now have to wait for another day
The victory put Poutiainen ahead of Vonn in the overall standings as well as staking the 28-year-old's claims as the best racer in the giant slalom following two second places ahead of this success.