Eight days on from being crowned world champion, the PyeongChang 2018 gold medallist landed another halfpipe title, this time at the US Grand Prix, as three-time Olympic champion Shaun White finished fourth in his first competition since 2018.
Kim was focused from the off on Buttermilk Mountain, scoring a spectacular 90.50 on her first run to win the event.
Spanish shredder Queralt Castellet sealed silver with 86.00, while Japan's Sena Tomita scored 82.50 to complete the women's podium.
"I was in a bad mental place," 20-year-old Kim, who sat last season out, said after her win. "Just taking a step back and having fun again was really important for me.
"I'm so grateful to be here right now and thank you everyone for supporting me."
Youth Olympic Games star Gu Ailing Eileen pulled out of the competition earlier in the day, citing a shoulder injury she had picked up at training.
The Chinese medal hopeful for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics assured her fans on social media that it wasn’t ‘anything too serious’, and that her absence was just a precaution.
Shaun White back on the big stage
The main headline surrounding the men's halfpipe competition was the return of Shaun White, who had not competed since winning Olympic gold at PyeongChang 2018.
But it was Japanese world champion Yuto Totsuka who took first place with a 91.75 first run. His compatriot Raibu Katayama scooped second thanks to his 86.75 performance.
Germany's Andre Hoeflich scored 84.00 - with one particularly stunning switch method - to claim third, while White's 81.50 saw him just miss out on a podium finish in fourth place.