Ben Ferguson is an American snowboarder competing in the halfpipe for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Ferguson, 23, of Bend, Oregon, made his Olympic debut at this year’s games. Ferguson qualified in fourth place with a score of 91, behind Japan’s Ayumu Hirano (92.25), Australia’s Scotty James (96.75) and American legend Shaun White (98.50). The scores will reset for the finals. Ferguson’s other two American teammates, Chase Josey, who placed seventh in qualifying, and Jake Pates, who finished in eighth, will also be among the 12 snowboarders competing for a medal.
“It was a pretty strong level of riding today. Dudes were throwing down and doing some good stuff for sure,” Ferguson told USA Today after qualifying. “There’s a level of nerves flying around up there. This is a big old show. Dudes are definitely a little stressed out and want to put down runs. The nerves were hitting me for sure. It was good to put one down. I think tomorrow the level will be elevated a little bit. You’ll see the gnarlier tricks come out and probably people will be going higher as well.”
Here’s what you need to know about Ben Ferguson:
1. Ben Ferguson’s Family Moved From Indiana to Oregon When He Was a Kid & He Began Snowboarding When He Was 6, Entering His First Contest 2 Years Later
Ben Ferguson was born in Indiana and moved to Bend, Oregon, when he was young, according to NBCOlympics.com. He began snowboarding when he was 6, riding on Mt. Bachelor with his brother, Gabe Ferguson, who is also a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team.
“It was pretty wild. The thing was big. I didn’t really know what I was doing. It was exciting and intimidating at the same time,” he told The Bend Bulletin about his time snowboarding as a kid on Mt. Bachelor. “I spent a lot of time up there for sure. I have a lot of good memories. Mainly just the free-ride days, riding the mountain and having fun with boarding. That really taught me how to be a real snowboarder and use the board the way you’re supposed to — taught me how to use my edges.”
Ben Ferguson entered his first snowboarding competition, in slopestyle, when he was only 8, according to NBC Olympics. A few years later he joined Burton Snowboards’ junior team after putting together a “sponsor me” video and uploading it to YouTube.
Ferguson is the son of Branden and Jennifer Ferguson, according to his bio on Team USA’s website. He has two younger brothers, Gabe and Zach.
Ferguson’s father, Branden, is also a snowboarder.
“His father’s passion for riding was what got him out on the snow, and Ferguson was six years old when he first strapped into a snowboard,” according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “A sticker on the front of his board showed him which side was supposed to face downhill and, after some initially trying moments, he was hooked.”
Ferguson, who graduated from Mountain View High School in Bend in 2016, said he is competitive with his brother, Gabe.
“We’ve always been and will always just be brothers on a mountain. We push each other a little for sure. I’ll get on him if I don’t think he’s going hard enough or I think he can do better, but man, he’s a naturally talented snowboarder,” he told The Inertia. “He does not need too much of me or anyone else in his ear. He’s a very good snowboarder. Honestly, it’s getting tougher to establish who the better Ferg is. But for now, I think I’ve still got him. Still.”
Gabe Ferguson missed out on the Olympics this year, but at just 18, he should be a contender for 2022.
“When Bachelor built us a pipe, it was like, holy moly, we’re actually doing this,” Gabe Ferguson told The Bulletin. “I’m super stoked for him (Ben). He’s riding so consistent. He’s been working hard, and he’s had this goal set. His mind is in the right spot, and he just went for it and got it done.”
2. He Finished on the Podium During the First Two Olympic Qualifiers & Then Locked in His Spot on Team USA at the U.S. Grand Prix
Ferguson is making his debut in the Olympics this year, according to NBC Sports. He shot out of the gate during qualifying, finishing on the podium during the first two qualifier contests. He finished second at the U.S. Grand Prix at Cooper Mountain and then third at Dew Tour Breckenridge. He locked in his spot on Team USA with a fifth place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass.
Ferguson told NBC he is looking forward to the excitement that comes with competing in the Olympics.
“Snowboarding is fun, and if it’s not fun, you’re doing it for the wrong reason,” Ferguson told NBC. “I’ve been doing it for so long that at this point in my life it comes really naturally. It’s just a great feeling, you’re one with the board, it’s part of your body and it’s a tool you use to do these crazy things. The last couple years have been really good for me, I’ve made a lot of progress in my riding, been doing better in contests and filming videos. My main goal is just to have fun snowboarding and if I can accomplish all these other things at the same time, then I’m super-stoked.”
3. Ferguson, Known for His Impressive Altitude & ‘Spin-to-Win’ Mentality, Has Won 2 X Games Medals & Was a Silver Medalist at the 2016 U.S. Open
Ferguson has been on the pro tour for several years and has competed in five X Games, winning a bronze medal in SuperPipe in 2018 and a silver medal in 2016.
“Ben is a ripping snowboarder in and out of the halfpipe. Highly regarded by his peers, Ferg brings a style that scores well with judges and fans alike. He’s the three-time winner of Danny Davis’ Peace Park and also spends time filming huge Alaskan lines,” the X Games website states.
According to NBC Sports, “Attacking the halfpipe with impressive amplitude and impeccable style, Ferguson crafts some of the most unique runs in the field. Like U.S. teammate Danny Davis, he eschews the “spin-to-win” mentality that has dominated the halfpipe scene over the years in favor of stylish, technical tricks done well above the lip of the pipe. So far this season, he’s been including the highly technical combo of a switch McTwist into a switch double backflip near the end of his runs.”
Ferguson’s teammate, Chase Josey, told NBC, “Ben Ferguson has some really good style. He’s got a powerful style, he goes big and is smooth. I look up to Ben and I love riding with him.”
4. He Enjoys Being Outdoors Even When Not on the Snow & Likes to Skateboard, Mountain Bike, Fish & Ride Motorcycles
Ferguson, like many Olympics extreme sports athletes, enjoys being outdoors even when he is not on the mountain. He told NBC Sports that his hobbies include skateboarding, mountain biking, fishing and riding motorcycles.
According to his Team USA bio, he also likes drawing and painting.
“It’s nice to go home and just relax and kind of do my own thing for a little bit,” Ferguson told NBC while fly fishing. “Skateboard, fish, mountain bike a lot, I’m just a normal kid doing normal kid stuff.”
But Ferguson has put in the work before the Olympics.
“I went down to Santa Monica, California, and spent a few weeks there last summer with a trainer,” Ferguson told Footwear News. “He was this big Austrian dude that just kicks your ass working out. And he also put me on a program.”
He added about the Olympics, “I just want to fully experience the whole thing and have a blast. Watch events, go to parties — enjoy everything. On the contest side of things, I want to land the best runs I can do and be a contender for the podium.”
5. Ferguson & Filmmaker Tyler Orton Documented a Year in Ferguson’s Snowboarding Career for a Short Film
Ferguson and filmmaker Tyler Orton documented a year in his snowboarding career in a short film called “Hail Mary.” You can watch the film below:
“Highlighting our travels across the world in pursuit of what we love in hopes to continue doing it. Snowboarding. The goal was to make a snowboard movie showing two aspects of the so called sport often unseen side by side and to spread love and excitement for what we do,” Ferguson wrote on Facebook about the video. “Featuring the riding of friends from around the world Alex Lopez, Jared Elston, Curtis Ciszek, Manuel Diaz, IIka Backstrom, and Gabe Ferguson. Enjoy the film.”
Ferguson eventually wants to focus on filming in the backcountry.
“I want to do this contest thing for a little bit. There are some things, some big things, which I do want to win. I want to win the U.S. Open, I want to win the X Games, I want to go to the Olympics and do the best I can,” he told The Inertia. “Ideally, I’d love to win all of them. But after that, I want to just go ride backcountry and just film. Just be like Travis Rice and those guys. Just ride powder boards. I will ride until I’m satisfied, but a couple or three really successful seasons could do it for me.”
He told RedBull.com, “Filming is definitely something I’m interested in. Learning new tricks is hard. But that’s what makes it fun, when you can overcome difficulties and learn something new. I enjoy the challenge.”