Ben Ferguson, 18, is on the U.S. Snowboarding Team and an Olympic hopeful. He's also a darn nice guy.
Athlete: Ben Ferguson, pro snowboarder
How long have you been snowboarding? When did you start competing as a pro?
My dad strapped a snowboard on my feet when I was 6 years old. I've been competing in pro contests for a couple years now.
And you're how old?
Will we see you in the Sochi Winter Olympics?
Well, I qualified to qualify. I'm one of 12 U.S. men competing for the four spots on the halfpipe team. If this year goes as planned and I land the runs I want to land I think there's a good chance I could make it.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
I think it used to be that snowboarders were just punks who partied too hard. But things have changed a little bit. Snowboarders still party, but a lot of them work really hard to be able to do what they do.
Best snowboarding memory from last season?
One of my best memories is from a day up at Bachelor. I just got back from a contest and a big storm was sitting on the mountain. It was a real stormy weekday so not many people were there. The snow was deep and the turns were good!
Favorite piece of winter gear?
You always gotta have a good waterproof jacket that fits just right. As long as you have enough good layers it doesn't even need to be that warm.
What new gear are you most excited about (or, what's on your wish list)?
This year I'm super stoked on the new Anon goggles that just came out. They're called M2 and they have magnet technology for fast and easy lens swapping capabilities.
Three things that should live in every skier's pack, but probably don't?
An extra facemask, some Advil for when things go wrong and a snowboard tool so you don't have to use the frozen one at the top of the lift.
Space food (PowerBars, etc.) or real food?
A lot of the time I just try and focus on eating a good breakfast that'll get me through the day. That way, you can skip going in for lunch and stay out and shred. It's nice to have a couple mini Snickers bars in your pocket for a little treat on the lift.
Where are you most excited to visit this winter?
I went to Mt. Baker [Washington] last year for the 'Legendary Banked Slalom.' I'd be super stoked if I could go there again this year.
What are your winter goals?
To progress my snowboarding as much as I can and have fun doing it.
Favorite regional ski destination?
I gotta go with Mt. Bachelor. I've been to a lot of different resorts throughout the years and have never had as much fun anywhere else.