FWT Athlete Highlight: AYMAR NAVARRO
Get to know Aymar Navarro, a top pick for the 2020 Freeride World Tour and a frequent visitor to South America.
Words by Gonzalo Lopatin
To read this in Spanish visit http://www.chilenieve.com/entrevista-aymar-navarro-y-su-pasion-por-el-freeride/
Get to know Aymar Navarro, a top contender for the 2020 Freeride World Tour. His competition results and the impressive movie, SouthLines, filmed in Argentina and Chile, are great reasons to watch this athlete!
SouthLines - 2018
Aymar was born 30 years ago in Val D’Aran, a little ski town in the Spanish Alps. He is a very aggressive skier who enjoys charging hard and he’s fun to watch because he always goes huge. Aymar owns a unique skiing style that encompasses creative flow and line choice. Learn about Aymar and his passion for skiing and why South America has played such an important role in his career.
When did you begin skiing?
When I was 3 my parents put me on skis and since then it was just fun.
How did you discover the world of Freeride?
When I was 17, I quit competing in alpine skiing and racing and just started skiing with friends who already part of the freeskiing world. I was immediately hooked and I realized that this would be my future, but I never imagined that I could get where I am.
What is Freeride to you?
Freeride is having fun and being free with friends while enjoying the mountains and nature to the fullest
When did you get your first Wild Card for the Freeride World Tour and what helped you to earn an invitation?
When I started competing, I won the Spanish circuit two years in a row. After that I continued with the Freeride World Qualifier and in the meanwhile we were filming SouthLines in Argentina, which gave me a lot of international exposure. Right after that they organized the first FWT event in Andorra and they invited me. Arcalis is my second home; they always treated me as family.
Aymar Navarro - 2017 Vallnord-Arcalís Freeride World Tour Run
What do the south American Andes mean to you?
I’m in love with those mountains and the people; it’s a very special place for me. They treat me as if I am home and that is very important when you’re far away.
When was your first time in South America?
A long time ago, when I was 13, I trained four consecutive years for alpine races. When I quit racing, I stopped going because I focused on getting my bomber certification. Four years ago, I returned and I haven’t stopped planning trips since.
In which aspects do you think that skiing down south has helped you to become the skier and person that you are today?
It’s a very special place for me because when I’m in South America I get disconnected and only think about skiing and what is my next move in the mountains. I can’t do this in Europe because I’m always in between competitions, sponsors, events, my bomber studies and social life.
If you have to choose only one video to show somebody that doesn’t know who you are. Which one you will choose?
Our last movie, SouthLines powered by Kayak. We filmed it last summer in Argentina and Chile and it describes me as a skier. After that experience, where we explored and skied zones that had never been skied before, it’s kind of boring for me to ski in a ski resort again.
What do you think about the progression of in South America and what changes have you observed over the years?
The level of Freeride is really stepping up. Chopo Diaz, Niki Salencon, Juan Bergada, Gonzalo Lopatin, Sacha Geist, Lucas Swieykowwski, Raimnundo de Andraca, Vicho Sutil are just some of the great riders with whom I have shared the mountain and I love seeing them push the sport forward in South America. I see a great future for the area and hope we can add some junior events in the 2020 winter season.
Where is your favorite place to ski?
I can’t choose only one because all of them have something that makes them unique.
What’s your biggest dream in skiing?
Still enjoying skiing in my 70’s and hopefully with my future kids.
What surprised you the most this year on the Freeride World Tour? How does it feel to compete at that level?
The level is so extraterrestrial !!! hahahaha. It is brutal, not only to compete with all these riders, but to ski with them every day and share time together after the event.
Who did you admire as a skier when you were little and who do you like today?
Hugo Harrison has been a very good reference for me. I really like his style and I quite identify myself with him. Right now, any of the kids up there, but Leo Slemett and Kristofer Turdell, besides being my companions on all trips and best friends on the circuit, I consider them the most complete influence.
Which skier that you’ve admired and looked up to have you been able to ski with?
The first time I went to compete at the FWT was like when a child goes to Disneyland. There were all my idols, and I was competing and skiing with them :-)
What is your most memorable FWT run?
It is difficult to choose only one run. I think the 2019 season was very good and it was special to have qualified for the Verbier final. It’s been one of those dreams that seem so far out, so just thinking that I was able to earn a spot to compete at the mythical Bec Des Roses, wow, there’s no words to describe that feeling…
What is going through your head atop a when you hear: “Aymar Navarro in 3…2…1… dropping...!”
I try to contain the energy and not get over hyped; this is something that I’ve learned through the years. I seek to control myself with music and about a minute before my turn I close my eyes, I analyze the line and imagine that there’s nobody else up there and I’m filming with Txema and my friends in Argentina. That always brings me good vibes as I drop in for my competition run.
How important is to be physically well prepared?
I think it's actually more important than knowing how to ski, especially with my skiing style: flying big and high-speed runs. If you do not have a good physique to maintain stamina through the run it is difficult drop in. Any type of fall going that fast could be very serious and the body suffers a lot.
How do you train?
Consistency is the key. I train harder some months than others, but I never take an entire week off. In Europe, it is harder for me to keep up with my training. Stretching is one of the things that I started recently and that is very important.
What have you sacrificed to be where you are today?
Many things, but I don’t regret anything because the effort has paid off. If not, I would have stopped skiing. Of course, in social media we only show the nice part of the game, but as in any other job, there’s a B side that only the ones that are close to you can see.
Tell us about your other focus in life?
I try not to talk much about my "other life", the real one, hahahahaha. I have been a firefighter for 10 years in the Aran Valley. I recently joined the mountain rescue group and it is a profession that I like and it motivates me just as much as skiing does.