Incline Village skier dreams of Olympics
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — An Incline Village skier is trying to independently make it to the Olympics with the help of a local business owner and ski instructor.
Lila Lapanja was born in Truckee, during a snowstorm. She grew up in Incline Village and has competed for Diamond Peak and Sugar Bowl’s ski teams before becoming the youngest person in the U.S. Women’s Ski Team in 2011 at the age of 16.
She competed for the U.S. for six years before being dropped from the team. However, that didn’t stop her from dreaming of going to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Mark Jarvis is a local ski instructor and owner of Tahoe Ski Girls met Lapanja last year and decided to help her pursue her Olympic dreams.
“She is an extremely kind lady with an icy, gritty personality and drive,” said Jarvis.
In order to represent the U.S. at the Olympics, she needs to compete and win a certain number of points. She needs financial help to get to those competitions all around the world.
Tahoe Ski Girls designed a “TEAM LILA” T-shirts and hat. They are selling for $30 each and all proceeds go directly to Lapanja. The first 100 purchases also received a card signed by Lapanja.
Lapanja has had her share of setbacks. An injury in 2015 kept her from competing for 18 months. In August 2021, she crashed her mountain bike and broke her leg. Just three months after breaking her leg, she won first place for Women’s Slalom at the Nor-Am Cup in Copper Mountain, Colo.
She is also currently the reigning U.S. Giant Slalom champion as well as the Women’s Alpine Combined champion. So, Jarvis feels her chances of getting to the Olympics are very good.
Lapanja is currently in Canada for a race so she wasn’t able to talk to the Tribune. However, she did send a statement.
“Getting to the Winter Olympics would be a dream come true but it is a tough journey and I am putting 100% of myself into it,” she said. “I want to represent the whole of Lake Tahoe and by buying a TEAM LILA hat or t-shirt, you help support my dream enormously. It would be an extra boost to my confidence to know that there are people all over Tahoe glued to their TVs with their TEAM LILA gear cheering me on.”
To buy a TEAM LILA hat or t-shirt, visit https://www.tahoeskigirl.com/lila-lapanja.
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