In an event that will feature at the Vancouver Olympics Kalla, 22, completed the circuit yesterday in 25 minutes 6 seconds to leave Poland’s pre-race favourite Kowalczyck trailing by 9.7 seconds.
Kowalczyck had been leading at every checkpoint, but after the 7 kilometre mark she began struggling to maintain that pace.
In third place was Russia’s Irina Khazova.
Kalla, tanned and happy, told the assembled international press that the victory means a great deal for her.
“I made up my mind to take it a bit easy when I started and didn’t let myself get stressed…the trick is to fight the entire way and not just the first half,” she said.
She added that the track was well suited for her skills.
“The important thing now is to take it easy, feel really good, and have some fun. And not think too much about the Olympics.”
Competing since 2004, Kalla won a bronze medal in the 4 x 5 relay at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship last year. Her best individual finish at the FIS was 5th in the 10 kilometre event in Japan in 2007.
Two years ago Charlotte Kalla became a household name when she won the second edition of Tour de Ski in her debut at the meet.