The Norwegian was third after the first run, but overcame a 0.18 seconds deficit to grab his first medal at a world championships.
“It was about time to get a medal! It’s really great, we’ve been working insanely, so it’s amazing. I haven’t won a GS since 2015," said Kristoffersen. “I’ve been so close so many times, and today was pretty good!”
How Kristoffersen finally beat Hirscher to win Giant Slalom gold
Kristoffersen had to settle for Giant Slalom silver behind Hirscher at last year’s Olympics, but he bested the Austrian with a combined time of 2:20.24 – 0.2 seconds clear this time around.
Meanwhile, Pinturault had led at the halfway stage, but in going down last the Frenchman succumbed to the pressure and slipped down to bronze, 0.42 seconds off the pace.
Early mistakes force Hirscher to settle for silver in Sweden
Thomas Fanara was the fourth to last skier down on the second run, but a mistake from the Frenchman saw him one of three top-30 racers to record DNF.
After just missing out, Hirscher will bid for a record-equalling seventh gold when looking to defend another title in the Slalom on Sunday, live on Eurosport, with Kristoffersen and Pinturault in pursuit once more.
Four-time world champion Bode Miller said on Eurosport:
It really was a great race, the racers who finished in the top three were the fastest and managed to separate themselves from the chasing pack. I felt they were head and shoulders above the rest. What a battle. It came down to very small margins, there were a couple of little bobbles, but it really was a fantastic race from all of them. When you are that far ahead of the others when it was pretty beat out there, lots of chatter marks then you have to take your hats off to the course crew in the preparation because it is tough to get a good race off in these conditions and they did a great job.