Courtesy of Killington Resort
Chandler Burgess a.k.a. King of Spring
By Karen D. Lorentz
Fun-loving, clever, and “out there” – as anyone who has seen photos or video of the King of Spring knows, Chandler Burgess is a skiing Texan with a creative soul and a photographer who is passionate about his work and the outdoors.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Burgess attended Fort Worth Nolan Catholic High School and graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.F.A. in design communication and a minor in web design and illustration. He also studied abroad one semester at the Lorenzo de’ Medici School of Art in Florence, Italy.
Asked how a Texan learned to ski, Burgess credits his mother, who hailed from Butte, Montana, for his introduction to the mountains.
“My world was changed forever in 1980 when I learned to ski in Jackson Hole at the tender age of 4. My ski instructor was a guy named Tristan who let me eat pickles and potato chips every day while in ski school. On the last day of my lesson, I broke my leg just below my knee and had to wear a walking cast for six weeks. Even with my first ski trip ending in a broken leg, I loved the mountains and skiing,” he said.
Citing life’s “twists and turns,” Burgess said his “skiing life was put on hold” when he was 7 and his family “got heavily involved in horses and ranching.”
“It was many years later, while attending Texas Tech University in the flat dusty high plains of West Texas, that I re-joined the skiing world,” he recounted. “There is a line usually shouted in bars around 2 a.m. ‘You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.’ So as we were closing down a bar and my group of buddies sauntered out onto the Buddy Holly Avenue, someone yelled out that we should try to catch first chair at Ski Apache. Five hours later, we missed first chair but we were skiing.”
Q&A with Chandler Burgess
Mountain Times: Why did you move to/stay in Vermont?
Chandler Burgess: I moved here for the skiing, but the summer and Killington community keep me here.
MT: How did you get to your current job?
CB: During college I would escape the Texas heat and head to Estes Park, Colorado. I worked as a Wrangler for Camp Cheley, a youth outdoor adventure camp located at the mouth of Rocky Mountain National Park. I taught basic horsemanship and led three-to-four day horseback trips into the park or surrounding mountains.
After finishing school, I moved to Colorado with the intent of making my life in the mountains. When the summer camp season came to completion, I found an opportunity to ski every day as a ski instructor at Loveland Ski Area. Ski School management polished up my less-than-stellar skiing and placed me on the magic carpet to teach others the fine art of pizza and French fries.
A year later, I was teaching upper level lessons and tuning skis part-time when I heard about an opportunity to be a full-time Graphic Designer for Copper Mountain and Winter Park. Chris Danforth hired me for the job at Copper, and 11 years ago I followed him to Killington Resort.
MT: What are your job duties and responsibilities?
CB: I am the creative and content manager for Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. I am one of many talented and driven people who are employed in the Killington marketing department. My responsibilities range from maintaining and driving the Killington and Pico brand creative to making sure our guests have a great experience while they are visiting.
MT: What do you like about your job?
CB: I am very lucky to have a career that allows me to combine my passion for creative and the outdoors. The most rewarding moment of my job is seeing people get excited about being at Killington.
MT: You have taken some amazing photographs. How did you get into photography?
CB: I believe in the power of great images. As a graphic designer I often struggled to find the image that conveyed the right emotion, action or moment. Not finding a suitable image for the creative I was working on led me to picking up the camera as I tried to solve the problem myself.
MT: What camera do you use? What are you looking for in your shots?
CB: I am currently shooting on a Canon 5D Mark III; it’s an amazing camera. A great photo, to me, captures your attention and evokes emotion.
MT: How often do you get out on the mountain?
CB: Technically, I am on the mountain every day – it’s just part of the Killington lifestyle. Back in the day, I would ski over 200 days a year and I skied at least one day a month for three years. Today, however, I am sitting on day 45 and I am still very happy with my life.
MT: Any work experiences particularly significant for you?
CB: The Killington re-brand; NSAA Best Use of Video Award; Best Overall Marketing Campaign; and 4241 magazine. [Burgess is publisher with Killington Resort of their 4241 magazine.]
MT: What is the greatest change you’ve seen in winter sports?
CB: The greatest change that I appreciate is the improved gear that makes sliding on snow easier for all participants.
MT: How did you get the moniker King of Spring?
CB: The King of Spring was born from a challenge that we gave our creative agency “Buttery” to come up with a video solution to help support our spring campaign and to reinforce one of our brand pillars – to have the longest season in the East. The rest is history.
MT: How do you spend your time outside of work?
CB: Riding my road bike around Vermont’s beautiful landscape; shooting photography; losing golf balls in the wood; and enjoying the company of friends.
MT: Favorite book, movie, or music you’d recommend?
CB: All the Dr. Seuss books. Currently, I am listening to a band called City of the Sun, a genre bending acoustic trio from NYC.
MT: How would you describe the mountain/ski town lifestyle?
CB: Killington skis hard and parties harder.
MT: What’s your take on winter? spring? party scene?
CB: Winter in Vermont is a roller coaster of temperature swings. When the temps go up, we get down. When the temps go down, we get down. When I first moved here, my understanding of basic science was challenged in a way that I never expected. One evening it was 18 degrees outside and raining. Pretty sure my science teacher back in Texas would have been bewildered at that feat of nature as I was that evening.
Vermont in the spring – right as the spring foliage starts to bloom and the peepers start to sing – is my favorite time of year.
The party scene in Killington is legendary. Everyone in this community is committed to sharing a great time with old and new friends.
MT: What advice would you give someone who wanted to live/move here?
CB: Killington is on the upswing. Move to town, get involved in the community. Help make this one of the best small communities in North America.
MT: Any words of wisdom?
CB: High Fives are the currency of happiness!