In fourth place after the opening pass, Ligety found speed where others couldn't on a deteriorating course in Beaver Creek, Colo. He finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 34.07 seconds. Alexis Pinturault of France was second, 0.18 seconds behind, and Austria's Marcel Hirscher ended up third.
Ligety had four metal screws inserted into his wrist after an accident during training Nov 22. He didn't take much time off after surgery, but had to train without a pole for a little bit. Ligety said that actually helped him develop more balance going around gates.
Hirscher joked that it really didn't matter if Ligety raced with one pole — or even one ski — he would still be fast.
"Ted is definitely one of the best, no, I'm sure, the best GS skier in the world," Hirscher said.
This was Ligety's 23rd career GS World Cup victory, tying him with Switzerland's Michael von Gruenigen for second all-time in the discipline. Fitting, since von Gruenigen was one of Ligety's idols as a kid.
"To have the same amount of World Cup wins as him is surreal," said Ligety, who is from Park City, Utah. "I never would've guessed I'd be anywhere close to him as a kid. It's really cool."
The only name ahead of Ligety on the GS list is Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who had 46 wins in the event.
"What he's done is pretty unattainable," Ligety said. "I would say Stenmark's thing is a pipe dream."
The victory was Ligety's fifth in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek. It also drew him closer to Hirscher and Pinturault in the overall GS race. Ligety has won the discipline four of the last five seasons.
Six-time Olympic medalist
Lara Gut of Switzerland won the women's World Cup super-G in Lake Louise, Canada, with
Gut was timed in 1 minute, 18.46 seconds. Vonn was 0.37 seconds behind and Tina Maze of Slovenia was third, 0.81 seconds behind the winner.
Vonn was coming off a victory in Saturday's downhill. The four-time overall World Cup champion is returning to the circuit after missing the Sochi Olympics and undergoing a second knee operation.
"It meant a lot to have worked so hard for so long and to finally be back in a position where I'm contending every race," Vonn said. "That's more than I could have hoped for."
Roman Koudelka won his second World Cup ski jump event of the season in Lillehammer, Norway, giving him the lead in the overall standings.
The Czech, who began the season with victory at Klingenthal in Germany, jumped 140 meters for 153.9 points to finish ahead of Slovenia's Peter Prevc in a competition delayed by strong winds and limited to one round.