By Rachel Walker | Photograph by Justin Cash
Wearing nothing but a cape, crown, royal blue speedo, and Elvis shades, a portly man with a ginger complexion arrived at Killington four years ago and declared himself King of Spring.
With his stout build fully displayed, King (his preferred title for less formal occasions) never skis with a shirt or pants, and takes umbrage when asked about the choice. “Do you ever go to work without a shirt?” he asks a reporter, in a regal non sequitur. “NO.”
His skiing style is described, by him, as “functional, free, and fantastic,” a manifestation of confidence. A southerner who learned to ski at age four during a family trip to Jackson Hole, King has always looked up to strong masculine role models, men like John Wayne, Elvis Presley, and Hugh Hefner.
“Those guys knew exactly who they were, without apology,” says King. But don’t call him macho. He’s quick to credit the people, his subjects, with helping him fall in love with Killington.
Four years ago, something was amiss in eastern skiing. The future King perceived diminished joy among the masses. His sword from the stone moment came after donning kingly attire and swaggering through the base area in a period now known as the Nor’Beaster—a reawakening, with slush bumps and pilsner.
“Spring is a state of mind,” says King. “And it’s always spring in my mind.” Which is to say that King skis year-round, barely robed, in inclement weather, without gripe or grumbling. If the emperor has no clothes, so be it. “If the skis will slide,” he hath decreed, “I’m going to ride.”
Today, King cannot inspect the village without adoring peons calling out. Imitators have been spotted on the slopes. His influence grows annually; last spring an 11-year-old went pond skimming with King. Oh, what a provenance to bestow on the lad.
“The people have been ruled well,” says King. “I’m loved by the community. I accomplish greatness all the time. Your greatest accomplishment, however, just happened in this interview.”
Perhaps the only setback King has faced is the lack of a queen, though he’s quick to point out that is an aberration. “Currently the double chair is vacant,” says King.
Acres: 1,509 | Vertical: 3,050’ | Snowfall: 250” | killington.com
What’s New: The Audi FIS World Cup hits the Superstar trail on November 26 and 27, with free access to slalom and GS races, plus movie premiers, autograph signings, and other entertainment.
From the Early Winter 2016 issue.