First-chair etiquette should be taught in ski school

For nearly all of my life as a skier and mostly snowboarder, I have been a first-chair guy.

I love the mornings, don’t mind the cold and can easily find ways to kill time standing in line.

When I was part of the Front Range crowd, I’d put the kids in their base layers before bedtime so they could wake up at 5:30 Sunday morning, get in the SUV and make the quick pass at the Mickey D’s drive-thru for the flapjacks.

As they got older and wanted to sleep in, I’d leave alone by about 5:45 a.m. to beat the I-70 uphill mayhem and get to the Loveland parking lot by about 7. After gearing up, I’d head straight to the grill for a round of biscuits and gravy with a side of bacon and read The Sunday Denver Post, which most Saturday nights I was involved in putting together until about 11 p.m.

Then it was out at 8 for the 8:30 start. I had a system at the LUV: first lap off chair 1, down to chair 6 for first up there, then over to chair 4 and buzz over and stand at the rope to get to chair 8, which opened at 9. Creature of habit? Guilty.

Now that I’m in my third season here and don’t have to go more than 10 minutes to the lift, I’m even more of first-chair fiend. When a co-worker texted me at 9:15 a.m. Sunday and asked my plan for the day, I replied: “On the hill.” His response: “Of course you are.”

But this past weekend doing first chair on three of four days at Snowmass I started to develop the “get off my lawn” attitude, and I’m only 51.

Here’s what is getting my craw: People who try to speed past those of us who have been standing in line at the rope well before they got there.

I think there should be an addition to Colorado’s Responsibility Code: First ones there get the first chair.

It’s not about getting the corduroy first, or even the pow. We likely are going in different directions, so we all get the run we want.

It’s a principle thing. Seriously.

You know who got there first, and just because the hardworking lifties drop the rope in your area first, have a little respect for those who put in the time to standing in line.

I’m a firm believer in karma. And first chair. So be kind. Respect the code.

Now, get off my lawn and enjoy the hill … behind me.