Ask Tessie: How early do I need to wake up for first chair? |

Ask Tessie: How early do I need to wake up for first chair?

Dear Tessie,

It’s Snowpocalypse out there tonight, and I am beyond stoked about shredding the fresh pow tomorrow. How early do I need to set my alarm to catch first chair?


Stoke Nation

Ah, first chair. An honor and privilege like none other. Twenty years ago, you could walk up right as the lift opened, but no longer. The word is out and you have competition to the tune of thousands of out-of-town skiers. (Side note: Mad appreciation for keeping our economy afloat!)

Now I hope you really mean FIRST CHAIR. Not second, or third, or fourth. Because while the difference is imperceptible to the uninitiated early riser, getting off the lift with 360 degrees of untracked snow is nothing less than a religious experience. Hear the sound of the crowd cheer as the gates open? That’s all for you, my friend. But it doesn’t come without some sacrifice, so let’s do the math:

The lift opens at 8:30 a.m. and you live 15 minutes away from the hill, so you should be leaving your house no later than 8:15. But wait, it snowed 2 feet last night and the roads are a mess — there will undoubtedly be a Prius desperately trying to spin its way up Ski Run Boulevard — better give yourself an extra 30 minutes. But hold on. You need to be there at least 30 minutes early if you really want the very first chair. Just to be safe, let’s make it 45. If that two-hour wait last night at Base Camp Pizza was any indication, it’s going to be a zoo up there.

No sweat though, you can drop your skis and head to the lodge for a beer and breakfast sandwich — gotta have a buzz going before hitting the hill and that Modelo you found rolling around on the floor of your ‘96 Subbie just isn’t going to cut it.

So out the door at 7 a.m. That’s not so bad, right? So what time do you need to wake up? Well, you’re not the high maintenance type, so just roll out of bed, throw on your sweat-crusted ski clothes and you’re out the door. This ain’t no beauty contest. Shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, tops.

But hold on, you were out raging at Whiskey Dick’s with buds last night and didn’t pack up the car. Plus you’ve got a wicked headache and need a cup of coffee (and Baileys). Where did you put your goggles after yesterday’s rip sesh? Better set the alarm an hour earlier. So now we’re looking at 5:45. Pretty rough, but you’re a true skier and a few hours of shut eye is all you need. No biggy.

Oh wait, one more thing. It snowed 2 feet last night and you can’t get your car out of the driveway. To make matters worse, the vindictive snowplow driver left a huge berm (at this point it’s all but certain that he does this on purpose). That’s gonna be at least 30 minutes of shoveling. And wouldn’t you know it, your roommate left his car out front so you’ll have to wake him up to move it, and he’s a real sloth. Looks like 4:00 a.m. should do the trick.

You know what? Better just head up there now.

Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to

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