By Ethan Weinstein
“Barefoot” Oke O’Brien has been coming to Killington since the ‘60s and has called the town home since 1970. Few know the place like he does. A ubiquitous face around the resort, Oke seems to know everyone, and everyone knows him — or, as he would tell you, knows of him. The man himself remains a mystery. Now, after over 40 years spent in the woods of Chateauguay, Oke’s searching for a place to live, with electricity — something he hasn’t had for all that time. A single room will do.
In the last five decades, Oke has photographed Killington and the area within a 20-mile radius. Every day, for hours a day, he drives both backroads and double-yellows, listening to VPR and snapping photos of all he sees. After all these years, he’s amassed thousands of color slides documenting everything from deer to debauchery, fires to floods.
These photos reflect only a sliver of what Oke has seen and photographed. Enjoy these shots of Killington in the ’70s and the wild animals of the Green Mountains. Much has changed — continues to change — but Oke stays much the same, wandering barefoot, traversing the hills in his beloved Saab or the 1950 Jeep he calls “The Judge.” Look for him, and ask him about Killington, the place he loves more than any other.
Oke can be reached at [email protected] or P.O. Box 33, Killington.