Arapahoe Basin’s first chair crew |

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Arapahoe Basin’s first chair crew

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

These are names you don’t hear often: Nate Dogggg, Agave Mann, Trailer Tom and Nickademus Mantooth – but these four men are seen by many year after year for Colorado’s ski season opening day.

The crew, also known as “Team Nate Dogggg,” have claimed first chair at Colorado’s season openers for years. In Dogggg’s case, a staggering 17 straight years.

The crew camped out, even sleeping briefly on the chairlift to ensure their spot on first seat.

Their quest for first chair at Arapahoe Basin’s opening day Wednesday began at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning when the posse staked their claim in chair lift lines.

Though the group described their evening camp out as “very, very cold,” Dogggg, and his entourage proudly displaying shirts that read “We’re with Nate Dogggg,” were ecstatic Wednesday as opening day crowds began to gather around them.

Dogggg’s reasons behind and the challenges he endures to make first chair, are not merely for bragging rights. Instead he says the “torch was passed to him from a good friend.”

Elmer Mulkins, who caught the first chair at Loveland Ski Area for 26 consecutive years, inspired him to do the same. After Mulkins died, Dogggg pledged to catch first chair as a tribute to the camaraderie found through skiing and snowboarding.

Dogggg continues every year to catch first chair at whatever ski area opens first in the state.

“I hope I live long enough to make it 26 years in a row,” he said. “Regardless though, I’ll keep doing it with whoever wants to join me for as long as I can.”

Dogggg and his crew were carried up by the Black Mountain Express Lift promptly at 9 a.m. after roaring crowds counted down to first chair.

“It’s what it’s all about: Good friends, a couple of beers and being out on opening day in Colorado,” Dogggg said as he and his crew met at the bottom of the High Noon run.

Another year accomplished.