OYUKI photographer Boen Ferguson has a job that’s better than most people’s weekends. A former professional skier himself, Boen spent a month living in Niseko shooting OYUKI’s riders doing what they do best. Riding infinite amounts of blower Japanese powder. We asked Boen to pick his five favourite shots and give us the low down on what life is like behind the lens in one of the snowiest locations on the globe…

SHOT 1 

 Rider: Nat Segal

Location: Niseko Hirafu Resort. 

How hard is it to shoot at night in Niseko?

Hirafu resort opens up the entire lower mountain for skiing every night. The huge mountain lights give an ambient glow, which makes it much easier to find stashes of powder compared to feeling your way around in complete darkness. The hardest thing is keeping batteries warm. The cold can suck all the power out of batteries so keeping the flash unit warm was my main priority. 

Skiing in Niseko at night is a unique experience. What do you think people like most about it? 

Niseko is famous for its night skiing. There’s something surreal about skiing powder under lights. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world you can guarantee to get hip deep powder at night.

SHOT 2

Rider: Maude Raymond

Location: Nito Backcountry 

Tell us a bit more about the place this was taken? 

This place is about half an hour drive from Niseko. In summer time this is a highway. There is a whole lot of really good terrain along the sides of this road.

This shot is a great representation of how much snow Niseko gets. What is it like to live in a place where it snows this much?

The mountains here are constantly transforming with how much snow is falling. Something that seems impossible to ride today might not be tomorrow with more snow on it. You have to continuously be adapting to the snow levels, aspects and avalanche danger. 

SHOT 3

Rider: Charlie Steinbacher

Location: Nito Backcountry

Why do you like this photo and what does it mean to you?

Before shooting any photos there is a whole lot of back and forth between rider and photographer, whether it’s over radio or screamed at the top of your lungs. “Where are you taking off?” “Where will you land?” “Am I in your way?” Etc. This photo was an exception. It’s a reminder of how getting a photo is 90% just being in the right place at the right time with a camera. 

Is the amount of snow Niseko gets a hindrance sometimes or does it make it easier to get a great shot? 

Niseko can be tricky to shoot. Staying warm and dry is the first priority. But some of the best shots happen in the ugliest weather.

SHOT 4

Riders: Adam Kroenert and Harrison Mcinnes

Location: Goshki Onsen

Is this the beginning, middle or end of a day’s shooting?

This was only the beginning. Goshki is a backcountry spot well known for its easy access, so it’s not surprising we weren’t the only ones who thought to mosey up there first thing on a bluebird Sunday morning. We were rushing for the peak (about an hour hike away) when I saw this backdrop and couldn’t help getting my camera out. We were the first to the top and got one uninterrupted run before hordes of snowshoe groups started zigging and zagging all over the mountain. 

What do you like most about the Niseko backcountry?

I like how ample and accessible the Niseko backcountry is. A lot of really great terrain can be accessed just off the road. Usually the hardest part is digging out somewhere to park the car. 

SHOT 5

Riders: Yohei Sasaki, Toshiya Kasuga

Location: Backcountry cat skiing with NSA

Obviously everyone in this shot is having a great time. Can you tell us more about the day?

The term gets thrown around pretty loosely but this may have been ‘the day of the season’. There were heavy snowfalls for two days beforehand then a perfect bluebird day so we decided to go out to this cat skiing place because it has some of the best pillows and cliffs in Japan. This shot was taken on the way home. As we passed this perfect vista we decided to stop and we sat on top of the cat and watched the sunset for about half an hour.