SUMMIT COUNTY – For the first time in a long time, Vail locals managed to board the first three chairs of the Colorado ski season on Sunday.
Vail resident Bob Aubrey was the hero of the group, squeezing in on Arapahoe Basin’s first chair up the mountain with the Summit local known as “Nate Dogggg,” who celebrated 18 years in a row riding the first chair of the season when the lifts started turning at 8:30 a.m.
“I got here after them but one member of Nate Dogggg’s crew didn’t make it, so I got called up,” said Aubrey. “What an honor.”
Nate Dogggg and his crew, the “4G Network,” as their affectionately called, camped out at A-Basin two nights awaiting Sunday’s opening.
“I had a dream that I woke up in my sleeping bag out here, and people were trying to battle me for first chair,” he said Sunday morning. “I jumped up in my socks out of my sleeping bag and kung-fu fought everybody. I just dreamt that last night.”
18 years since age 18
Nate Dogggg started his first-chair legacy when he was 18 years old. He said at that time, he never expected he would continue to carry it on for another 17 years. Now a legend of the liftline, he says he wants to set a record that will never be touched.
When it’s all said and done, it’s a question of “What’s your biggest goal you’ve set for your whole life?” Nate Dogggg said. “It’s ‘what can you claim as a highlight of your life?’ This is the highlight of mine.”
Nate Dogggg says he begins preparing around the middle of the summer.
“You pack everything up so you’re ready to go, and then the second that press release comes out, you’re out the door,” he said.
Aubrey and Nate Dogggg were joined on their first chair by the men known as “Trailer Tom” and “Nickademus Mantooth,” long-time members of Nate Dogggg’s 4G Network. Nate Dogggg calls Trailer Tom his “marketing director;” and like any good branding professional, Trailer Tom came equipped with a handful of shirts for the rest of the campers who showed up in an effort to get an early chair.
“We have the Team Nate Dogggg version for our first tier, and then the other rest are for the support staff, the interns and the second stringers,” Trailer Tom said with a laugh. “They were all here and all did the night last night.”
Among the second stringers to receive the “I’m with Nate Dogggg” shirts were eight more Vail locals, including Cesar Hermosillo, Andrew Wight, Kameron Weakley, Michelle Talasis, Josh Accatturo, Kayla Wittich and Kelly White.
Vail well represented
The Vail group of eight filled the second and third chairs up the mountain, and said they arrived at around 1 a.m. Saturday night.
“Having Vail locals on the first three chairs up here in Summit is just a testament to how much our community loves skiing and snowboarding,” said Hermosillo, who described the conditions as “surprisingly good.”
“The snow feels incredible. A-Basin did a really great job getting it ready this year,” Hermosillo said.
A-Basin’s lifts will continue to run every day for another seven to eight months.