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An Homage to Old-School Snowboard Movies: Q&A With Snowboarder Ben Ferguson on His Flick ‘Fleeting Time’

(Photo/Aaron Blatt)
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If you missed Ben Ferguson’s ‘Fleeting Time’ premiere on the big screen, don’t worry. The Bend, Oregon, ripper’s award-winning snowboard film is streaming for free November 3-9 thanks to Red Bull. We had a quick chat with Ferg last month at the premiere to hear all about it.

When you picture the ideal venue for a snowboard film premiere, chances are that Chicago doesn’t come to mind. More likely you think of mountain towns like Truckee and Whistler, mountain-adjacent cities like Salt Lake, Denver, and Seattle. But Chicago?

And yet, when Ben Ferguson’s directorial debut film, “Fleeting Time,” premiered at the historic Vic Theater last month, a well-struck home run away from Wrigley Field, the place was buzzing. The house was packed with a mix of curious flatlanders, industry folk, and out-of-towners like myself, chuffed that a visit to the Windy City lined up with Ferg’s film.

All of us were coaxed by the promise of powder on the silver screen, free-flowing Red Bull vodkas, and a shared love of snowboarding.

The 2-year project is a masterpiece. An homage to the shred films he grew up on, Ferguson’s “Fleeting Time” is packed with high-octane clips and electric sessions from the shit-your-pants steeps of Alaska to the generously pillowed bosoms of British Columbia.

Fleeting Time
Ben Ferguson; (photo/Aaron Blatt)

In addition to protagonist pipe-slayer-turned-powderhound Ben Ferguson, there’s Ben’s younger brother and style savant Gabe Ferguson, as well as Jared Elston, Travis Rice, Red Gerard, Curtis Ciszek, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Mikkel Bang, Austin Smith, Danny Davis, Mark McMorris, Hailey Langland, Raibu Katayama, Kaishu Hirano, Mikey Ciccarelli, and Luke Winkelmann. “Heavy hitters,” as Ferg called the crew, is an understatement.

Set to a relentless soundtrack of thrashing guitars, the riding makes you want to punch through a wall, and maybe blow your rent on a heli trip. Or, at the very least, go snowboarding.

After catching the premiere in Chicago, we weren’t surprised to learn that “Fleeting Time” brought home a whopping five awards at the prestigious IF3 film festival:

  • Snowboard Film of the Year
  • Standout Female Snowboarder of the Year (Zoi Sadowski-Synnott)
  • Standout Male Snowboarder of the Year (Ben Ferguson)
  • Breakout Snowboarder of the Year (Gabe Ferguson)
  • Best Backcountry Segment (Mikkel Bang)

Watch the movie below — it premieres today — and do yourself a favor. Put it on the TV or projector, as the riders and filmers intended. Watching this on a tiny phone screen is a tragedy on par with 3-hour lift lines on a powder day.

Q&A With Fleeting Time Director Ben Ferguson

Before “Fleeting Time” blew the roof off the Vic, GearJunkie had a quick 7 minutes to chat with Ben Ferguson in a cramped back office in the theater’s underbelly.

GearJunkie: How’s the tour going so far?

Ben Ferguson: It’s been a whirlwind. Here, there. Early flights, late nights. It’s been super fun.

GJ: Is it a blast from the past in terms of the premieres you grew up going to?

BF: I remember being a little kid and going to [ski film] premieres. The main thing that’s been really cool about it that I didn’t really expect is the community. Each spot I’ve been to, I know people there, but it’s nice to see the whole community come together. Each stop’s a little different, ’cause the communities are a little different, and that’s been really cool.

GJ: We’re in Chicago right now. What’s it like to see a crowd in Chicago coming out to a movie like yours?

BF: Dude, it’s so awesome to see people that get excited for snowboarding in Chicago. We got into an Uber the other day, and the driver saw the Burton logo on my jacket, and he’s like “You guys boarders?” and we were like, “Yeah, man, come to the show!” And I think he’s probably sitting out there right now.

It’s cool to see the different little subcultures that exist in these cities that you wouldn’t necessarily think had a snowboard scene.

GJ: What were some of the films that inspired you growing up? What would you put on to get hyped before you went to the hill?

BF: Growing up, we were super into Robot Food movies. That’s what I came up on. And then I got a little bit older and I started watching more 90s flicks. Mack Dawg movies, older Standard flicks. And I always loved Absinthe.

I’ve just always been a fan of snowboard movies, no matter what, honestly. You decide which ones you really love and take what you like from all of them. And that’s where I’ve gone with this one — going backwards and then bringing it forwards. I was just trying to make a snowboarding movie that resonates.

Fleeting Time premiere
(Photo/Aaron Blatt)

GJ: I feel like with the freestyle stuff, progression is so dramatic. But it’s interesting, when you go back and look at some of those OG Standard movies, the big mountain stuff is still so heavy.

BF: Yeah, a lot of those old Standard movies, a lot of those old Mack Dog movies, all that riding back in 2004, 2000, whatever, that still holds up. Because that was some gnarly shit back in the day.

So it’s almost like [the aim of “Fleeting Time” was] keeping that caliber of riding in the backcountry to a good level, you know?

GJ: Any particular moments that stand out in filming?

BF: We were in Valdez with Travis Rice last winter. Flying around in a helicopter with one of the debatable G.O.A.T.s of the sport, and the dude who’s probably spent more time in a helicopter than anybody … seeing the way he operates in those mountains and the confidence that he rides with on lines was amazing.

Everybody else brought something different to the table. Curtis Ciszek is just an OG Bend-head and came in with the sled skills and hooked us up in Whistler. Everybody who’s involved added so much to this movie.

GJ: You’ve put in the last 2 years working on this project. How does it feel to finally show and tour the film?

BF: It fires you up. I’ve done projects in the past, but not near this caliber. So it’s awesome to do it on this level and then premiere it on this level. It makes me [want to] do it again and try to do it bigger and better.

ben ferguson fleeting time
Fleeting Time film premiere.

GJ: Was there anywhere that you filmed that you hadn’t been before?

BF: We went to Haines, Alaska, which I had been to years before, and we went there the first year. Then the second year going up to Alaska, we went to Valdez. I’d never been to Valdez. It’s Alaska, so it’s big and crazy, but it’s quite a bit different than Haines. It’s almost bigger, longer, spread-out, more blind runs, more technical.

GJ: That was that right after Natural Selection, correct? I was there for that window at Tailgate Alaska.

BF: Oh, sick. Yeah, we went right to Valdez and we got a great window the next week. There was a whole Valdez section [in “Fleeting Time”]. We had a really good year last year in Haines and I’ve had good years in the past, but this was another notch higher. We had a week [of heli time]; it was super stable, but also really good snow, and then a crazy crew — the stars aligned.

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GJ: What’s it been like filming and competing at Natural Selection Tour simultaneously?

BF: It makes it hard to film, because that’s weeks and weeks out of your year you could be stacking clips, but also it’s the coolest contest I’ve been involved in, so you gotta support it. I’m going to keep doing those.

GJ: Any shout-outs?

BF: Everybody, the sponsors, Burton, Red Bull, Anon, Mount Bachelor. Thanks to all the homies. They know who they are.

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