From Aerials to Flying Free, Dylan Ferguson’s Next Chapter

Former U.S. Teamer looks back at competitive career and new beginnings in a 4bi9 mini-series

For years Ferguson balanced his World Cup aerials career with filming and freeskiing. PHOTO: Rocky Maloney

For years Ferguson balanced his World Cup aerials career with filming and freeskiing. PHOTO: Rocky Maloney

From 2010 to 2014, Dylan Ferguson was the figurehead for the U.S. aerials program. After missing out on the Vancouver Olympics due to an appendectomy and freak infection, the Park City transplant established himself as the premier American jumper, a near shoe-in for the next go-around at the Sochi Games. But after a few competitive bobbles down the stretch and the added strain of freeskiing athletes vying for the disproportionate amount of Olympic berths (26 total across 10 disciplines), Ferguson was shockingly left off the final roster.

Since then, he has walked away from aerials and his life with the U.S. Team, reconnecting with a passion for skiing that had been checked for nearly a decade. Free to pursue what he wanted, Ferguson went back to the terrain park and backcountry jumps that played a huge part of his ski development early on, and hit the record button. Now Ferguson, along with ski buddies and film crew 4bi9, is releasing a two-part series documenting his double life as an aerialist and park skier titled, "My Dreams, Not Yours." Part 1 was released today.

POWDER caught up with Ferguson to learn more about the project and talk about the toughest decisions of his young career.

Man, that’s some dramatic music you have going on there.

Haha, yeah, it’s intense right? We had to get music rights and you know how that goes sometimes.

Ah, yeah. So how did this "MDNY" project come about?

I decided I wasn't going to compete anymore and I felt like my story had gone a little untold. I wanted to display my career and skiing in the way I wanted it to be viewed and not the way it’s been viewed before or how the [U.S.] Ski Team wants it to be viewed…and do it with some of the people that have supported me along the way.

Where was your head at when you found out you weren't going to the Olympics?

It was crazy, it honestly just seemed so unfair, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. I tried to essentially sue the team and the U.S. Olympic Committee and hired a lawyer, but after looking at the logistics I realized I had been sort of screwed over from the start. It was the way that the Olympic-qualifying was. Things didn't fall into place and at the end of the day it was kind of messed up.

You're a pretty positive guy, but how do you get through something like that?

It was dramatic the first few days. You work so hard for something and then the reality that it's not going to happen sets in. I guess it made me realize that if that's the way the Olympics were set up, then I don't want to compete in something like that. I had to take some time to myself. I went to Europe for two weeks and didn't really watch the Olympic Games at all. I was definitely sad that I couldn't be there, but it made me realize that maybe I didn't want to compete in aerials anymore and that I wanted to get going on life. I went back to school in the fall and just graduated this spring. It helped me realize I had changed my priorities and where I was going with my skiing.

Has the documentary contributed to that?

Yeah, it's helped display my story and helped me realize things along the way that make me happy with the decisions I have made. It's been cool to look back at the sport and I hope it pushes people in the direction I went, to continue doing a bit of everything. I did aerials for a really long time but I always went skiing, so I'd like to influence the next generation to follow that example.

What's next for Dylan Ferguson?

I'll always ski, but I did just graduate, so I'd like to do something within the ski industry maybe in marketing, or become team manager, or something like that.

I had the whole winter this year to ski around Park City and it was great to remember that skiing around with friends is fun and that I don't need to do competitions or prove myself all of the time. Getting outside, having fun, and trying tricks—that's what it's all about for me.