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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, her home mountain, winning bronze in slalom. All in all, she took huge steps toward hopefully snagging some 2015 World Cup starts and a shot at competing in Beaver Creek during the “senior” World Championships when they roll into Colorado Feb. 2-15, 2015.

      My first year at the World Juniors, it was a huge goal of mine to get top 15 and I did accomplish that in the slalom. After another year of training I went to the 2014 World Junior Champs believing I was capable of winning. 6th place was a solid finish and I’m excited to make my skiing faster and bring more fire to the 2014-15 season. 

      There’s a great team vibe. We're respectful of each other and bring a clear focus to training every day. There's a lot of positive support and we want to make this the best World Cup Tech team the U.S. has ever had. 

      Alongside my NorAm slalom title goal I had written that I wanted to win the U.S. National slalom. A podium bronze is my best finish at a U.S. Nationals, so I’m super happy with how I skied. I put my whole heart out on the hill. I'll keep that goal in mind for this season too. For now, it's all about making the skiing faster.

      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.”



      NorAm slalom champion, 2014
      3rd, SL, U.S. Alpine Championships, 2014 (top junior)
      6th, SL, Junior World Championships, Jasna, SVK, 2014
      15th, SL, Junior World Championships, Mont St. Anne, CAN, 2013
      Back-to-back U.S. Junior combined champion, 2012, 2013