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Lila Lapanja

"There is one big, beautiful idea: keep smiling and keep moving."

photo: @brewstersphotos

My   Journey

I have always felt that it was my destiny to be a winter athlete: I was born in a snowstorm, had skis on my feet at age two, and have lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains at Lake Tahoe my entire life. I love the feeling of snow on my face when I am outdoors surrounded by the power of nature.

 An Olympic dream began when I kicked out of the start of my first race when I was six years old. My father, mentor and coach, Vojko - a top ski racer from Slovenia - was the one I wanted to ski like...and to beat.


I acquired a natural passion for skiing from him and launched my career in Alpine racing as a member of the Diamond Peak Ski Team. I raced in all disciplines throughout the Western Region and consistently placed at the top of my field as a young racer.

When I was 16 years old, I was named to the U.S. Ski Team. In the six years as a National Team member, I achieved a high level of skill and success while pursuing my sport with focus and passion and embracing challenges with grit and grace. Being on the team freed my love of travel and exploring new cultures while I represented the USA racing on mountains around the world.

I won my first North American Cup Slalom Overall Title in 2014, and was on my way to the World Cup. However, the next season I endured an injury that kept me from racing for 18 months.

Lila Lapanja

I persevered through storms and sunshine and made a successful comeback, reclaiming my NorAm slalom title in 2016. On a magical night in Flachau, Austria I scored my first World Cup points in only my third WC start!

I now hold two U.S. National Championship titles, have stood on nine U.S. National podiums and have represented my country in the World Cup and at two World Junior Championships. Fueled by the love I have for this sport and focused on my goals, I keep smiling and keep moving...

...and I won my 4th NorAm Cup Slalom Overall Title and also am the reserve champion in Alpine Combined for the 2021-22 season! This secures guaranteed slalom and AC World Cup Starts in 2022-23. I am extremely excited to be racing on the World Cup circuit full-time this season!

I am more dedicated than ever to continue this journey on my personal “evolution of excellence” as I move closer to qualifying for the 2026 Winter Olympics - which has been my heart's goal since I was a child.


I am profoundly grateful for the inspiration and support from "Team Lila" - my family, friends and all of my dedicated sponsors and patrons - as we continue to create a world-class platform that will provide a strong foundation from which I can reach for my dreams and inspire others to reach for theirs.


photo credit:

Lila's ABCs

A – Alpine skiing...“Alp” anything

B – Baths and a good Book

C – CLIF Bars!

Č – Čaj (Tea). Homemade Slovenian is the best!

D – December: my birth month

E – Exploration + Travel

F – Fire sign - I'm a Sagittarius!

G – Giant Slalom: the beautiful discipline

H – Haikus. “Ski on, turn, on, smile ~ saturated in passion ~ rock on diamond girl”           

I – Iris, my feline muse

J – Joyriding

K – Keys, especially skeleton keys

L – Lake Tahoe

M – Movies, film, cinema

N – Nature inspires me!

O – Olympic Games

P – Ping-Pong. Let’s play!

Q – Quotes: “Life is a gift - how you live it is your ‘thank-you’ note.”    

Lila Lapanja

Sarah Brunson/ U.S. Ski & Snowboard

Lila Lapanja

R – Roger Federer: my favorite athlete

S – Snow Leopards

Š – Številka 3 (Number 3). My favorite number

T – Thunderstorms 

U – U2, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, OneRepublic, Hans Zimmer, Alicia Keys…a few of my favorite   bands/musicians                     

V – Volcanoes and other natural disasters (fascinating)

W – Wild horses, Wild West

X – X-ercise. Movement. Sports.

Y – YES, yes, yes! Also, sweet potatoes...I mean yams…a favorite food!

Z – Zvirče, Slovenija. A home for my soul

Ž – Živali (Animals)

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