You've got the first chair thing right. Here in the East, powder days aren't exactly a regular occurance. I recall a weekend in Stowe about 5 years ago. It started snowing around noon Saturday. It snowed all day, and was predicted to continue through the night. By 9:00pm, all the bars on the mountain road were nearky empty. Stowe, unlike many other ski areas, opens at 7:30am on weekends. We pulled into the lot at Mt Mansfield at 6:45, and there was already a line at the quad! Talk about wanting to get the first chair!