Incline’s Lapanja wins slalom national championship

American alpine skier Lila Lapanja, shown in 2021, captured her first slalom national championship this week.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — After a dozen years of racing alpine at the national level, Incline Village’s Lila Lapanja is a slalom national champion.

Lapanja competed in the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho earlier this week, and raced to her first career national title in slalom.

“I have wanted this since I have been racing U.S. Nationals, here we are 12 years later,” said Lapanja in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I think we are all tired at this point in the year so I knew I had to focus on some good technical skiing and that would carry me to the finish.”

Lapanja, 28, posted the fifth fastest first run to open Monday’s slalom championship. She then went on to put down the fastest second run to win the national title by 0.43 seconds with a combined time of 1 minute, 41.40 seconds.

The win was her third of the year and second victory in a row. Lapanja previously took first place in slalom at a Nor-Am event last month, and won a FIS slalom event in Austria earlier this season.

She finished the national championships on Tuesday with a 19th place finish in giant slalom. Lapanja finishes the season ranked fifth in the Nor-Am Cup slalom standings. She was the overall Nor-Am slalom champion in 2022 and 2020.

Team Palisades Tahoe skier Keely Cashman, 24, was also competing at the national championships and finished runner-up in super-G.

“It’s a tough super-G hill,” said Cashman in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “It’s set like a GS. It’s super grindy.”

Cashman finished the race 0.19 behind Tricia Mangan. She also finished eighth in slalom and seventh in giant slalom.

Sugar Bowl Academy skier Luke Winters finished runner-up in men’s slalom on Monday. Winters, 26, had the fourth fastest first run, and then posted the fastest second run of the day to finish with a combined time of 1:45.00.

“It’s all fun here, I tried to win but Jett (Seymour) is skiing well so I was not quite close enough first run,” said Winters in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.”

Seymour won the slalom title with a combined time of 1:44.16.

Winters was 13th in super G and giant slalom.

In snowboarding, North Tahoe’s Hanna Percy, 15, took 14th place in parallel slalom and 15th place in parallel giant slalom at the national championship event at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado.

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