Snowboarder Ben Ferguson’s exciting directorial debut, “Fleeting Time”, is streaming now

Snowboarder Ben Ferguson’s exciting directorial debut, “Fleeting Time”, is streaming now

There’s a scene in Fleeting Time, the new snowboarding film from decorated competitor-turned-backcountry filmmaker Ben Ferguson, that shows one of Ferguson’s halfpipe runs at the 2018 Burton US Open competition interspersed with clips of him as a young groom.

His US Open run begins with his massive air two fakie that you may remember from his run at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where he finished fourth in the men’s halfpipe. The crowd goes wild as his mother, Jennifer, looks on – Ferguson’s Olympic-level talent is clear for all to see.

As the announcers continue through the rest of Ferguson’s run, the video slowly fades to black and white, transitioning to gorgeous footage of Ferguson, Red Gerard, Jared Elston, Austin Smith, and Ben’s brother, Gabe, cycling in North America, soundtracked by Samiams “Don’t break me”.

It’s a well-executed moment that allows us, the audience, a glimpse into Ferguson’s mind as he made the film.

“It fades away like it’s a memory, and then, boom, you’re in the mountains watching backcountry snowboarding,” Ferguson told me over the phone during Fleeting timehis press tour. “That’s what I want to do now. I’m proud of what I did in halfpipe, but I’m a backcountry snowboarder now.

Born in Indiana, Ferguson and his family moved to Bend, Oregon, when he was young, and he cut his teeth on the region’s powder-covered peaks, including his home mountain, Mt. Bachelor.

During his competitive career – Ferguson is one of a handful of rare professional snowboarders who competed in both slopestyle and halfpipe – he took silver in superpipe at the 2016 X Games and bronze in 2018.

Excelling in both disciplines as well as his background riding powder in Oregon made Ferguson a true all-mountain rider, which would give him a leg up when transitioning into the backcountry.

Nevertheless, this transition was not easy.

“Being in the backcountry is a whole new skill set compared to a halfpipe competition or even going up right around the resort,” Ferguson said. “You have to know how to be on the snowmobile, how to be in the mountains, how to handle big terrain and what comes with it…avalanche, you have to have first aid experience if things go wrong because they can and you want to be so prepared as possible.”

Everyone involved in the production, from the crew to the riders lined up with Ferguson – in addition to Gerard, Elston, Smith and Gabe, the acclaimed list included Travis Rice, Mark McMorris, Danny Davis, Hailey Langland, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Mikkel Bang , Brock Crouch, Kaishu Hirano, Raibu Katayama, Mikey Ciccarelli, Luke Winkelman and Curtis Ciszek—had attended minimum Level 1 avalanche training.

“The more time you spend in the mountains, the more time you ride in natural terrain, you get better every time – just gaining experience is an important thing for filming,” said Ferguson. “It’s a wonderful place to spend time, but it can get very fast.”

Around 2016, Ferguson, who had been involved in some smaller film projects, including his short 2016 Hi Maria with films Tyler Orton, began to venture more into the backcountry. Backcountry veteran Travis Rice asked Ferguson to be a part of his 2016 film The fourth phase, which was the largest production Ferguson had been involved with up to that point. He called it a “really amazing learning experience.”

In 2019, Ferguson filmed with fellow Burton Snowboards team riders Gerard and Sage Kotsenburg – another former Olympian who now focuses on filming rather than competing – as well as Davis and Crouch on Happinesswhich was directed by Orton and John Cavan.

But as Ferguson would learn during the making of Fleeting timedirecting a snowboarding movie is a completely different beast than acting in one.

“All around, it’s a lot more work,” he said with a laugh. While most snowboarders spend the summer relaxing, Ferguson and his crew had to move paperwork, pitch tires, take meetings, raise money, oversee editing and generally prepare the film, from Homestead Creative and co-produced by Red Bull Media House and Ferguson , for the release.

But one of the biggest rewards was the hand-picking of the riders who starred alongside him in the film, many of whom were his friends and who all raised the level of his riding.

“Spending time in the mountains with amazing snowboarders really pushes your snowboarding and makes you strive to get better at your snowboard,” said Ferguson. “Without the people in the film, it wouldn’t have been as high caliber as it is.”

Filmed over two years, Ferguson and Co. traveled to Whistler, British Columbia; McCall, Idaho; Jackson, Wyoming; Haines and Valdez, Alaska; Lake Tahoe, California; Japan, and Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood in Oregon. Ferguson’s favorite place – and the most challenging – was Alaska.

Over the past decade, filming has emerged as a legitimate way for snowboarders to support themselves and attract high-level sponsors if they don’t want to go, or want to stray from, the competitive route.

Although he is not going to another Olympics, Ferguson’s sponsors Burton and Red Bull – whose media production arm, Red Bull Media House, co-produced the film – have been behind his projects.

And while historically female snowboarders haven’t had as many opportunities to film or move to the backcountry as men, Fleeting time provides a prime stage for Olympians Langland and Sadowski-Synnott to showcase their prowess in a more creative way. In recent years, female snowboarders such as Elena Hight and Robin Van Gyn have proven that freeride snowboarding and filming can be a path in the industry that can coexist harmoniously with competition.

“For me, Red Bull has had my back since I was 16 now and has given me so many different opportunities. It’s a big family,” Ferguson said. “Burton too; Burton is a small privately held company; it’s a family and it is the biggest and best snowboard company in the business. They give me the opportunities to do these things that I want to do. I consider myself lucky.”

As for where you can see Ferguson next, he plans to return again to the Natural Selection Tour, now in its third year, in February 2023. The big-mountain competition has proven to be a hit with competition riders and freeride filmmakers alike, one of the few competition formats that many of today’s big names who have moved beyond structured competition will even participate in anymore.

Ferguson adds that he “definitely wants to be in the backcountry snowboarding” and that he hopes to make more films in the future.

The 27-year-old was impressed by the reception of the film and hopes that even more people will check it out now that it is available on streaming.

“It was amazing to put a ton of hard work and effort and time into something and then feel the positive feedback and recognition once it was shown,” Ferguson said of the press tour, which included sold-out shows in cities such as Bend, Chicago, New York and Burlington, Vermont.

“I hope this movie just makes people want to go snowboarding. Even if you don’t snowboard, hopefully it will get you excited to get out and appreciate what you love to do… get fired up and take advantage of the time you have,” Ferguson said.

After all, that was the meaning behind the film’s title, Fleeting timeas well as the creative choice to punctuate the action with the sound of a tinkling grandfather clock.

“Time is kind of all you really have, and you can spend it however you want,” Ferguson said. “And I believe that to live a fulfilling life you should use it wisely and take advantage of all the time you have.”

From 3 to 9 November, Fleeting time streaming for free on Red Bull TV for a limited time of one week.

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