Snowboarder Ben Ferguson has spent much of the last two years chasing powder across some of the most iconic terrain in the West with his best friends.
From the massive peaks of Alaska to his home mountain of Bachelor, Ferguson and his friends have been on a mission to produce images that inspire fellow snowboarders to get out there and ride.
The result is “Fleeting Time,” a film directed by and starring the former Olympian who was born and raised in Bend and still calls it home. The film’s world premiere is scheduled for October 1 at Bend’s Tower Theatre, kicking off a month-long tour of the US and Canada.
“I always remember growing up watching snowboard movies and being excited about snowboarding,” the 27-year-old Ferguson said. “I wanted to make a snowboard movie that lived up to the ones I used to see. We worked really hard the last two years and it’s finally finished, so I’m excited to premiere it at home.”
Over the span of two years, Ferguson and the team traveled to Whistler, British Columbia; McCall, Idaho; Jackson, Wyoming; Haines and Valdez, Alaska; Lake Tahoe, California; Japan, and Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood in Oregon, perfecting conditions of deep powder, steep peaks, and massive transitions.
Other snowboarders in the film include Ben’s younger brother, Gabe Ferguson, and some of Ben’s closest snowboarding friends who also live in Bend: Jared Elston, Curtis Ciszek, and Austin Smith. Other big name bikers in the film include Travis Rice, Mark McMorris, Danny Davis, Red Gerard, Hailey Langland, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Mikkel Bang and Brock Crouch. Also featured are Japanese half pipe professionals Kaishu Hirano and Raibu Katayama.
Ferguson said that most of the terrain in the film is in the countryside, accessed by snowmobile or, in Alaska, by helicopter.
“It’s like chasing snowstorms, riding in powder and riding off-road,” Ferguson said. “The last two years I’ve been chasing storms.”
The most memorable place for Ferguson was Haines, Alaska.
“Alaska, in general, is the best,” he said. “It’s just the biggest and steepest – the fastest you’ll ever go on your snowboard and the biggest turns you’ll ever make. We spent a lot of time in Haines and Valdez, both classic snowboard movie locations. And both are very different. Haines is steeper with more features. Valdez is bigger, longer, with a more sustained tone.”
Terrain aside, though, Ferguson said he just loves spending time in the mountains with friends and family.
“We had amazing days in Alaska, in Haines, and we were very lucky with the weather,” he said. “But just playing with friends and riding with my brother was so much fun.”
Growing up in Bend, Ferguson honed his snowboarding skills on Mt. Bachelor, both on natural terrain and in man-made halfpipe and terrain parks. He was part of the US Olympic half pipe team for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, finishing fourth.
It was a tough spot to finish, but since then Ferguson has seamlessly transitioned into freeriding and filming. He said his last halfpipe event was two years ago, but he still competes on the Natural Selection Tour, which is the brainchild of Rice and features the world’s best cyclists competing on naturally improved terrain.
“It’s okay with Natural Selection now, because we can do this kind of riding that isn’t a halfpipe or a park,” Ferguson said. “It’s nice to ride in the powder and it’s nice to be in the mountains. These Natural Selection contests allow us to do that too.”
It’s kind of a natural progression for an action sports athlete to go from competition to movies. Ferguson’s friend and housemate in Bend, Carson Storch, has done basically the same thing in freeride mountain biking. Both Ferguson and Storch are sponsored by Red Bull.
Ferguson said he doesn’t miss competing in the halfpipe, but he does miss riding the halfpipe for fun, which he got the chance to do on Bachelor last winter.
During its off-season, Ferguson enjoys other outdoor activities in central Oregon, such as fly-fishing and mountain biking. He also travels to Pacific City on the Oregon coast to go surfing.
When winter comes, he’ll be back in the mountains with his friends, chasing fresh snow and creative lines.
More information and tickets for the premiere of “Fleeting Time” at the Tower Theater are available at redbull.com/fleetingtimetour. The film will also be available on Red Bull TV from November 3-9.