Interview with Javier Lliso, European ski champion and student at UCJC

Javier Lliso is an elite slopestyle skier, a student of the Physical Activity and Sports Science degree at University Camilo José Cela and SEK-Ciudalcampo alumnus. He is the Spanish and European champion and his main objective is to qualify for the next Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2020.

Q. At what age did you start skiing?

A. I started skiing, more or less, at the age of three in Sierra Nevada, because my mother taught there, and she wanted to get me and my brothers into skiing.

Q. What is your preferred skiing discipline?

A. I do freestyle, specifically freeski (there are different types of freeski), and within this, slopestyle.

Q. When did you decide to practice slopestyle professionally?

A. I started doing freestyle when I was twelve years old, more or less, which is when they started putting snowparks in Cerler, which is where I used to ski, and professionally at nineteen.

Q. Do you remember your first championship?

A. Yes, perfectly. It was a competition in Cerler. I was about thirteen years old, and it was great fun, really, because there was no kind of pressure. It was just like playing with friends, and after that I was hooked.

Q. What did you feel when you were proclaimed Spanish champion?

A. The truth is that I couldn’t believe it, because I had finished third the previous year, and of course, it isn’t the same. I was really happy, over the moon, and I realised that I was good at it.

Q. Which victory has given you the greatest joy, and why?

A. I would say it was this past year, when I took first place in a European Cup in Meribel, because it was my first international win, and the most important one.

Q. What do you like most about freeski?

A. That’s hard, there’s so much … (laughs) Well, mostly, it is a sport that helps you to overcome challenges and fears. Apart from that, the adrenaline rush, which is amazing.

Q. And in academic terms, what do you study at University Camilo José Cela?

A. I am doing Physical Activity and Sports Science.

Q. How do you combine your sports activity with your studies?

A. We have a very complicated calendar, because we are always travelling, so, normally, I do coursework in the afternoons when I have time, and then when I come to Madrid I put in time at the library.

Q. What do you value most about your time at our university?

A. I appreciate all the help I get, the facilities, and that all the teachers and classmates that I have in class are always willing to help me out.

Q. And lastly, let’s look at the future. What would you like to do when you retire from freeski?

A. Well, the truth is that I would like to be able to do this sport forever, but I would like to be able to do something on my own or follow the work that my coach is doing right now.