"Aksel ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee. He's in the process of being operated on. His season's over," Norwegian ski federation official Claus Ryste told NRK.
"He's out of action for between nine and 12 months. We are well experienced in this type of thing, but it's a long process. We know he's in the best of hands."
Svindal, one of the favourites for the downhill on arguably the toughest course on the World Cup circuit, was one of three racers who crashed out at the same point of the gruelling 3km-plus long Streif course.
Along with Austrian pair Hannes Reichelt and Georg Streitberger, Svindal lost control coming into a compression close to the bottom and skidded off course into the safety netting.
Unlike the Austrians who were evacuated by helicopter, Svindal walked away from his crash and had a ride on a snow mobile down to the bottom before being whisked away to Innsbruck for examinations.
Svindal, 33, had won seven World Cup races this season and was part of a Norwegian team that had notched up a remarkable 13 victories from 22 races held so far.
His victory in Kitzbuehel's super-G on Friday had seen him leapfrog Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, seeking an unprecedented fifth consecutive World Cup overall title, into top spot of the general standings.
But Svindal's 107-point lead looks sure to be quickly clawed back by Hirscher, favourite for slaloms in Kitzbuehel on Sunday and in Schladming on Tuesday.
Svindal seemed to take the setback in stride.
"I messed up my knee a little and about to go into surgery. Kinda sucks in the middle of the winter, but thats life. Ups and downs and just gotta deal with whatever comes," he wrote on Instagram.