Lila Lapanja scored her first World Cup points in 2016 and is seeking more in the upcoming 2017 season. (Getty Images/Doug Pensinger)
Mikaela Shiffrin returned from injury to dominate the Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom Monday, taking her 18th World Cup victory.
It’s a lonely atmosphere mid-winter at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah. Most athletes are off globetrotting the world tour. Back home, the days were filled with sweat and punctuated by tears.
For one athlete, it was a career day, but for an American coach, it was an historic day at the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom Friday.
Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN) and Lila Lapanja (Incline Village, NV) joined Stigler in qualifying for the second run, and both scored their first career World Cup points.
Americans put on a strong showing during NorAms at Lake Louise and Panorama, with B, C and D Team members grabbing podiums in tech and speed events.
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) did it again on Sunday, winning her second Aspen Winternational slalom in two days.
World Cup action kicks off this weekend in Aspen and Lake Louise.
U.S. Ski Team athlete and 2014 NorAm slalom champion Lila Lapanja is an amalgam of balanced intensity, grace, flow and a little bit of mystery—just like her spirit animal, the snow leopard.
The U.S. women’s technical team ushered in the “summer season” last week, wrapping up a two-week slalom and GS camp at Loveland Ski Area in Colorado.
Two-time Olympian Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) finished one one-hundredth of a second behind Canadian Marie-Michelle Gagnon Saturday as women's slalom officially wrapped up the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in Squaw Valley.
Sunshine and excellent racing conditions will greet athletes Wednesday when the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships kick off on Red Dog at Squaw Valley.
Katie Ryan (Aspen, CO; Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club) took an agressive line Monday to open women's speed competition at the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships with fifth in super G, just .24 from the podium.
Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN; Buck Hill Ski Team/Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) continued her strong skiing Friday with fourth in the FIS Alpine Junior World Championships slalom, just .49 from the podium.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association named a group of 15 elite athletes to compete at the 2013 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championship scheduled for Feb. 19-28 at Le Massif and Mont Ste Anne, Quebec.
Lila Lapanja Quick Facts
|Alpine Athletes » Lila Lapanja||
Lila Lapanja Websites
Athlete Photo Gallery
Lila Lapanja had just finished her first driving lesson at age sixteen when she got the call from the U.S. Ski Team in the spring of 2011. "I was so excited. I've been working so hard…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 a mountain highway in the Sierra Nevada.
She rode that momentum into a remarkable junior career, finishing sixth in the Junior Worlds slalom, winning back-to-back U.S. Junior combined titles, and landing on the podium at the U.S Nationals with a bronze overall and Junior title in slalom. In 2014, Lapanja claimed the NorAm Slalom title and secured her spot on the World Cup as a tech stand-out and NorAm champion. However, 2015 proved to be the most challenging season of her young career as she struggled with an injury: after being named to the 2015 World Championship Team, Lapanja made “the hardest decision of my life” and forfeited her slalom spot so she could heal and regenerate for the rest of the season.
But Lila fought back with grit, grace and determination. Both on and off the hill, Lapanja emanates a balance of intensity, hard work, devotion, focus and a little bit of mystery—it’s what makes her unique and a champion. That intensity is what fueled her as she scored her career-first Audi FIS Ski World Cup points in Flachau in 2016 in just her third World Cup start. She harnessed that momentum again with a stand-out first run in the Crans Montana WC slalom (going from 43rd to 17th) and wrapped up the season by reclaiming her NorAm Slalom title and mining silver in slalom at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sun Valley. Comeback complete!
Now Lapanja will take her “pursuit of excellence” and signature “snow leopard power” into 2017 with her sights on scoring top results on the World Cup circuit—which she says “feels like home”—and making her mark at the World Championships in St. Moritz. Destination: Korea 2018.
OFF THE SNOW
In addition to her love for ski racing and sports—she also has a varsity letter in tennis, played very successfully in club soccer and will challenge anyone in ping-pong or sprints—Lapanja’s other great passions include animals, nature, the environment and travel and languages.
In 2015, Lapanja was named as an ambassador for the Snow Leopard Trust and is dedicated to increasing awareness of this magnificent creature and favorite animal. Lila shares, “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. Growing up at Tahoe has been a blessing because of the close connection with nature. I use my home in Tahoe as a refueling station and love being outside in nature—I believe that the Lake has magic powers. I also love traveling, exploring and learning about other cultures and people and have started writing poetry about my experiences. Since I grew up speaking Slovene with my father and my family in Slovenia, I am very interested in languages, am almost fluent in Slovene and one day will be fluent in German too!”
Lapanja scores her first World Cup points at Flachau, 2016:
WORLD CUP HIGHLIGHTS
FIS JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS