Ski wrap: Incline’s Lapanja wins Nor-Am event; local stars set for season debuts

Lila Lapanja, shown after winning a pair of national titles to close out her 2020-21 season, picked up a North American Cup win in slalom on Tuesday.
Provided/U.S. Ski & Snowboard

While America’s top alpine racer, Mikaela Shiffrin, raced to a pair of second-place finishes at last weekend’s World Cup slalom event in Levi, Finland, things wouldn’t go as well for a trio of Tahoe skiers.

Team Palisades Tahoe and Carnelian Bay skier AJ Hurt didn’t qualify for Saturday’s second run and just missed out on qualifying for the second run on Sunday. Palisades Tahoe teammate Nina O’Brien didn’t qualify for the second run on Saturday either, and on Sunday didn’t finish her first run. Incline Village’s Lila Lapanja also missed out on qualifying each day as she made her 2021-22 race debut.

Lapanja would go on to capture first place in Tuesday’s slalom event on the North American Cup tour at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado.

Bennett, Ganong set for season debut

Local alpine racers Bryce Bennett and Travis Ganong will make their first starts of the season this weekend, competing in World Cup downhill and super-G events at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.

Ganong opened Wednesday’s downhill training by posting the third fastest time, while Bennett was 52nd.

Also on the men’s side, Sugar Bowl Academy’s Luke Winters had a solid week of North American Cup competition, claiming third in Sunday’s giants slalom, and then winning Tuesday’s slalom race.

Halvorsen, Schoonmaker head to Finland for World Cup opener

In cross-country racing, local Sugar Bowl Academy standout JC Schoonmaker will be competing in the World Cup season opener in Ruka, Finland.

“I’m super pumped heading into Ruka,” said Schoonmaker in a post to Sugar Bowl Academy’s Facebook page. “At the start of a new season, you never really know what you’re going to get so it’s important for me to focus on just doing the best I can and being patient. It’ll be awesome to go back to some of the venues I already raced on the World Cup because I feel like those experiences last year will really help me. It’s going to be an exciting season and I just can’t wait to race again.”

Truckee’s Hannah Halvorsen is also set to open her season in Ruka.

Racing gets underway today with the sprint, followed by 15- and 10-kilometer events Saturday and Sunday.

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of the Tribune. He can be reached at

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