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From hockey to snowboarding and now to freestyle riding, Dane has had plenty of experience in intense sports. This Alaskan came to be famous for his “twist off” back flip on a snowmobile, or as Alaskans call them “snowmachines”. In last year’s Winter X Games, Dane was able to win the gold Next Trick with this famous stunt. Dane continues to train hard, ride in demos, and compete. We welcome Dane Ferguson to Team HMB!
Q: Dane, welcome to Team HMB, we are happy to have you with us! Can you tell us what sparked your interest in freestyle riding and how did you get starting in competing in this sport?
DF: “In 2001 I got a sled to access Alaska’s back country. I hated snowmachines for 2 years and only rode as a passenger on my own sled until one summer when I got into dirt biking. Then I took the time to learn how to ride and control the sled. I have only snowboarded 3 times since that day. My aggressive riding style caught the attention of the Turnagain HardCore filming company. Two years later I was invited to my first freestyle event in Moscow’s Red Square. And, I have been hooked on performing ever since.”
Q: What kind of training schedule do you have for freestyle riding?
DF: “If I have a particular injury, I will go to the gym and focus on rehabilitating it. As long as all my bones are healthy, my freestyle training consists mostly of riding. In the summers, I prefer to ride dirt bikes at the track for cardio and long endurance rides through the woods and mud of Alaska. In the winter, I like to ride as well. Bumpy unmaintained trails are in abundance around here and are a great way to tune my body and my sled at the same time. In my sport, I believe it is important to be strong and limber but not too bulky. Big crashes happen, and I need tone to be able to bounce back quickly afterward. I would usually focus on freestyle 3-4 days a week all year round on either sleds or bikes, weather depending.”
Q: How long did it take to get the different tricks down?
DF: “Once I quit snowboarding, the back flips took me a year and a half to learn. Some tricks come faster than others. Sometimes trick variations leave you, and you have to relearn them. But, the flip is ingrained in my muscle memory.”
Q: With all stunts that you’ve pulled off what has been your worse injury?
DF: “The worst for pain and timing is when I was a rider/promoter for a show in Alaska. It was the first time I had incorporated bmx, dirt bikes and sleds in one of my own shows. In practice, I was flipping for a newspaper photographer when my chain broke, the track locked up, the sled stopped rotating and landed on me. It was a dirt landing, and I broke my collar bone and rib. I chose to stay at the show to make sure everything went as scheduled and helped with the announcing.
The most expensive injury was a spiral fracture in my leg. Unfortunately, I was just horsing around, jumping my sled and body sliding down the snow landing. I tried one second base style slide, I caught my leg wrong and oops! “
Q: What’s going through your head when you do those crazy stunts?
DF: “At the traditional ramp set ups, I don't have many thoughts. For the real gnarly stuff, I usually think like this. As I approach the stunt/jump for the first time, I have to attack it with full confidence in myself and not be worried of any consequences. At the same time, I'm cautious – always keeping in mind what is most likely to go wrong and how will I get out of it safely. Then, usually I get into the air and all that goes away. Then, it's a pretty cocky feeling I get until I land and the the process repeats itself until it becomes traditional and thoughtless.“
Q: What was it like to win gold for Next Trick in the Winter X Games?
DF: “It was a relief to win the Gold at X. I had many injuries and had spent a lot of time and money to get to that point. Although all of the riders and I could have performed better that day, I was still good enough to win. It leaves me more next tricks in the future. “
Q: What is your favorite stunt to do and why?
DF: “My favorite stunt is the flip because it is still a bit scary but easy at the same time.”
Q: I know you’ve been doing a lot of demo shows lately, what do you see in the future for Dane?
DF: “Nobody knows what the future holds, but I'm sure I will continue entertaining/performing all over the world as well as organizing and promoting events in my region. I'll see some more victories and hospitals along the way.”
Q: What are your ultimate goals and how do you feel HMB will help you get there?
DF: “My ultimate goals are to stay healthy and always get back up. I would like to continue doing what I do but with more victories. HMB is important to help keep me riding day after day. It helps to maintain the body and helps greatly for keeping the energy levels up during the long competition season.”
Thanks for taking the time today for this interview. We are very excited to have you be a part of Team HMB and wish you the best of luck with your demos and competitions in the future.