Boen Ferguson, Charlie Timmins and Chris Booth
Words | Chris Booth
Video & Images | Lucas Wilkinson
There’s something inherent in our cultural narrative about capping things off on a high note, because we all love a happy ending. All good Hollywood films transport us purposefully to a theatrical precipice and once there, gently nudge us into a blissful orgasm of moral self-fulfillment. In reality too, we labour against the friction of life all year long then celebrate it at year’s end – pissed. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rewarding conclusion is the key to any good story.
For pro skiers Charlie Timmins and Boen Ferguson, lensmen Lucas Wilkinson and Ben Hansen, and me, winter is three months spent rushing from place to place sharing little more than a high five or the occasional beer. It seemed like the winter had passed in an instant, spitting us out the other end, leaving us scratching our heads and wondering exactly what just happened.
We needed closure. So this long weekend we decided to raise the middle finger to impending summer, head back to the mountains for some sun, slush and fun and give the winter a proper tip of the hat.
It was Saturday, 15 degrees in the Perisher car park. The asphalt felt warm on our bare feet as we changed into ski boots. The worst excesses of MTV blared from the car – sprawled across two spaces. Our haggard winter garments, bearing the fatigue of a winter’s long abuse, littered the ground. You could never get away with this in July.
Boen back on skis after his early season knee surgery
Despite all marketing efforts Perisher was a ghost town this weekend. The eerie hum of chairlifts and the morbid yelp of black crows played like a backing track to the snow slowly rotting into an earthy-beige. The decay of winter was palpable, and beautiful. By contrast, the Perisher terrain park, situated on Front Valley, was in perfect condition and packed with life. At least until Charlie Timmins rocked up.
I have a strong suspicion Charlie came out of the womb wearing Air Jordans, and that Facebook was his idea. When Charlie started casually spinning laps through the park it seemed like everyone else just stopped, completely intimidated by his superior abilities (myself included). Without concert he ambled through his enormous bag of tricks, 540, 720, 900, 1080, then all of those switch, in both directions, with sunglasses and no hat. The humbled author of this piece took up smoking on the spot he was so overawed.
Brother’s got skills.
You couldn’t do this in July
As the afternoon continued its trajectory towards dusk, our pace slowed with the snow. The thoughtfully stashed beers had cooled in the snow and now were begging to be opened and hastily imbibed. Charlie and I called it a day. Boen (Ferguson) however, still recovering from knee surgery, had spent the day filming us along with Lucas and was feeling restless. So in spite of his greatly diminished physical abilities, he took to the infamous and frustrating s-box and the possibly 1000m long double rainbow – nailing them both within the first few tries. Not only are these features near impossible to make (I made neither in an entire day trying) but he is only two months post-surgery; nothing short of incredible. Boen has a bizarre strain of genius that seems to enable him to do things in total absence of effort; it can therefore be concluded he is in all probability a spaceship in disguise.
By sunset, as we shared a beer on the roof of the Ferguson residence at the foot of Lake Jindabyne, it had become plain and clear we had just experienced the best day in the history of the universe. Skiing slushy park under the sun’s shining encouragement amongst your best friends on a public holiday is an untenable trilogy for most, but we had done it.
Charlie scaring the punters, and Boen
Several cans later Charlie, Boen and Lucas set up a few guitars and played a couple of songs. I was like, ‘really, a band?’ But these kids are multi-talented. More interestingly though, they are the last people you’ll here it from. I find that brand of humility very disarming in a world replete with ‘somebodies’.
Take Lucas for example. Already one of the snow industry’s most reputable lensmen, one could be excused for thinking that’s enough. But he is also a deft hand at turning a computer into an instrument, Lucas is a bit of a musical whizz. Sure, lots of people can make electronic music, but it wasn’t until I watched him play a guitar, singing pitch-perfect, enveloped in his own senses, that he seemed to truly find his context.
And it was at this point that I felt that nudge. Into that blissful orgasm of self-fulfillment I tumbled, in the company of some very rare talents, who are also my very best friends.