Eight seconds later she was in the finish area, grabbing her head in frustration.
"I am so surprised about all of it", Ledecka said. "I'm really trying to win and do a good run every time, but I didn't really realise that this really can happen".
When things finally began under a clear-as-can-be blue sky, Vonn went first.
Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather was in second place with a time of 1:21.22, while Switzerland's Lara Gut was one hundredth of a second back in bronze medal position after negotiating the piste in 1.21.23.
In the Super-G, world champion Nicole Schmidhofer will throw her name into the ring for the crown, as will German Viktoria Rebensberg who won in Kronplatz last month and Tessa Worley of France.
She recovered quickly and still posted one of the day's top times - 1:21.49 - but a full 0.27 seconds separated Vonn from the podium.
"I attacked. Unfortunately, I got a headwind in the middle section, but I attacked". This time the 33-year-old was largely clean on the top half but almost wiped out on a wide turn near the bottom, a costly mistake that put her medal hopes in jeopardy with 43 racers still to go.
"I misjudged how I came in there", Vonn acknowledged.
She caused controversy in December saying she wasn't competing for the president but told Twitter trolls "if they don't like me, their loss". I'm feeling gratitude. I was able to make a jump that I wanted to do with concentration. Which is why the part-time ski racer, part-time snowboarder from the Czech Republic stood so still, absolutely motionless and expressionless, for several moments after crossing the finish line in the Olympic super-G and seeing the numbers on a video board that appeared to show she was fast enough to be the gold medalist. The look of confusion that washed across the 22-year-old Czech's face as she looked up at her winning time will endure as one of these Olympics' most memorable images.
Her work in the two sports can help her performance in each. "I attacked and that's what happens". Why did we not ski better?' "I just made a mistake. It might not be a medal, but I definitely gave it everything I had". She was training for consecutive days and preparing for events that continued to get delayed because of high winds. She was forced to sit out the Sochi Games four years ago after tearing ligaments in her right knee. "Everything lined up except for one turn, and that's all it takes, and that's ski racing".
"I don't want to be rude".
Veith was sure she'd clinched a gold.
"Ice Prince" Yuzuru Hanyu clinched the first back-to-back men's Olympic figure skating title in 66 years on Saturday as snowboarder Ester Ledecka pulled off a major shock as she skied to women's super-G gold.