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Lila Lapanja had just finished her first driving lesson when she got the call from the U.S. Ski Team in early 2011. "I was so excited. I've been working so hard for it, and it's just one step closer to my dream of being an Olympic ski racer," said Lapanja, who learned of her nomination at the summit of Mt. Rose Highway.

Her career hasn’t slowed since, and she slammed on the gas pedal in 2014 when she finished sixth in the Junior Worlds slalom, nabbed the NorAm slalom title and finished seventh in the overall. She rode that momentum right into U.S. Champs at Squaw Valley, winning bronze in slalom.

Both on and off the hill, an amalgam of balanced intensity, grace, flow and a little bit of mystery emanates from Lapanja and it's part of what makes her a unique champion. That intensity is what fueled her as she scored her career first Audi FIS Ski World Cup points in Flachau in 2016 after just three World Cup starts. She carried the momentum to U.S. Alpine Championships in Sun Valley, where she grabbed second place. Lapanja will take that balanced intensity, grace, flow and mystery into 2017 and look to score more points on the World Cup circuit, which she says "feels like home."

U.S. born, but with dual citizenship with Slovenia, Lapanja inherited her love for skiing from dad and former Slovenian National Team skier Vojko Lapanja. After he moved to the U.S. in 1991, Lapanja was born and has had racing in her blood ever since. She cut her teeth at Diamond Peak and rapidly climbed the junior ranks before being called up to the U.S. Ski team in 2011.

“I am very interested in nature and animals. I think it is very important to understand the lives of animals and find ways to preserve their habitat and appreciate their beauty. I love animals, especially the snow leopard (you can learn more about this magnificent creature at I also love to play other sports, especially tennis and ping-pong! My passions also include traveling and learning about other cultures and people. Since I grew up speaking Slovene with my father and his family, I am very interested in language and one day I will be fluent in Slovene and German! I also enjoy reading and writing too and have started writing poetry.”



23rd, SL, Flachau, AUT, 2016
First World Cup points scored in only three starts

2nd, SL, Sun Valley, ID, 2016
3rd, SL, Squaw Valley, CO, 2014 (Junior SL Champion)
Back-to-back U.S. Junior combined champion, 2012 and 2013

Teams: 2013, 2014
6th, SL, Jasna, SVK, 2014
15th, SL, Mont St. Anne, CAN, 2013 (Top American in SL and GS)

NorAm slalom champion, 2014 and 2016