Completing the Trifecta : Meet Jessica Sechler

While Anthony and I are the faces of Rasputitsa, there is a quintessential third member. She is the firs to roll-up her sleeves and the last woman standing at the end of the day. Her full-time job is Burke Mountain, Sales & Marketing Director, but she is unofficially part of our team with the salary of free beer (the same salary Anthony and I pay ourselves).

We sat down with Sechler to discuss all thing Burke. Read her perspective.l]

Jessica Sechler (far left) poses with the Craftsbury General Store at Rasputitsa’s Friday night event.

Jessica Sechler (far left) poses with the Craftsbury General Store at Rasputitsa’s Friday night event.

Sidenote: Tagline the Last Little Corner of Vermont, Burke Mountain is both the single largest landowner on the Kingdom Trails network, home to a gravity fed downhill park, another 50 alpine ski trails, 14 glades, and three terrain parks, and 12 nordic ski trails comprise a total of 178 skiable acres.

In a couple sentences, tell us why you've made a home in Burke?

My intentions for coming to Vermont we’re pretty self-serving, find reliable good snow + a much-needed life/career change.  Burke has given me all of that plus so much more.  My home away from home, (I’m originally a flatlander from PA), a circle of friends which have become family, and a new appreciation and motivation to enjoy the outdoors.  I’ll never forget one of the first things said to me as I shared that Vermont was probably just a stepping-stone to get me out west, “Be careful…people visit Burke and find they forget to leave”.  I totally see why.  Burke is a place you settle in to, you become familiar and cozy with, and quite frankly, fall in love with.  From the active spirit of the community to the work ethic of my colleagues and friends, the driving force of why this place is so special is a perfect combination of amazingly unique terrain and genuine like-minded people. 

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How have you seen the mountain evolve and grow? 

This will be my fifth winter season at the Mountain and it’s really night and day.  The first three years of my career were in some respects a terrible nightmare filled with lessons I didn’t realize I was learning at the time.  With that being said I’m glad I was a part of those years to appreciate really what’s happening now.  We’ve grown into a destination, a place we’re seeing guests visit multiple times throughout the year and an environment our staff proudly (and tirelessly) work to maintain.  

What's inspired you professionally in the last few years?

The challenge.  It’s been a trying five years filled with tons of mistakes but most importantly, the satisfying feeling of accomplishment as well. 

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What time of year do you feel the most spiritually connected to Burke?  Give us an insight to that perfect day.

Winter is my season.  Something about the cold, crisp, take your breath away kind of day makes me smile.  Winter is perfect in a lot of ways in my opinion, a full-on powder day is certainly the dream but I can’t always enjoy those with my favorite ski pal, my dog Leo.  So other than a stellar powder day on the slopes I remember taking advantage of one of the last touring days after the lift closed at Burke.  Leo and I skinned to the top of Upper Dipper, sat at the base of the wind tower and watched one of the most perfect sunsets.  The colors of the sky, the reflection in the snow, the peace, the quiet, the feeling of time standing still and getting the chance to absorb everything you need to at that moment, there was just nothing like it.  An evening I’ll never forget.  

What's Rasputitsa like from your perspective?

Ha.  Loaded question.  Honestly, I think it’s bananas.  The first time we met and you introduced the event I was like, wait, people pay to do this?  Here we are hosting our 4th Rasputitsa and I can’t picture our spring without it.  It still gives me anxiety from an event planning perspective but hearing the stories and seeing the expressions once they cross the finish line, I’ve never had the pleasure of being a part of something so motivating.  It goes back to that question of what inspires, when presented with a challenge it’s human nature to push through and never give up, even while you’re body is breaking down and your mind is screaming at you like “you’re eff’ing crazy!!!”.  I imagine while you’re in the thick of it, freezing, numb fingers, hypothermic, there is something you discover about yourself.  Not everyone gets there and once you dig deep and find that sense of drive, it’s addicting.  Hence it’s success in my opinion.  Plus it’s one of the coolest parties of the year