Heading into the competition Kaufmann-Abderhalden was still waiting to taste a World Cup victory, having finished on the podium three times but yet to climb the top step.
But the wait is over for the Swiss skier after she came home in 1:47.28 minutes, beating Tina Maze of Slovenia into first place by 0.29 seconds.
Finishing third was Austrian Cornelia Huetter as she crossed the line in 1:47.80 minutes, this her first career World Cup podium and just her second top-ten finish.
Victory means Kaufmann-Abderhalden is now hot on the heels of German Maria Hoefl-Riesch in the downhill World Cup standings.
After finishing ninth in Val d’Isere Hoefl-Riesch still leads the standings on 265 points but Kaufmann-Abderhalden is now just six points further back with Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather third on 210.