I loaded T-s for a bit back when you needed all your strength to start the Baldy Tee - no soft start in those days. The job of lift operator requires being alert and aware of what is happening around you - man and machine. Doesn't matter what weather is thrown at you, there are long stretches of standing out in the cold. Most lift operators don't do it for more than one season, and in the early part of this season, there was a fair turnover.
Remember Brandon? He loaded chairs for at least two seasons, and was probably the most athletic in his style of grabbing and guiding chairs. Yes occasionally a chair hits me in the back of the knee, but the way I look at it - the lift operator did not intend to do that.
As riders of the chair, there are things we can do to make the lift operator's job go smoothly. Pay attention and stop talking when you go in to the loading area. If you are not sure you will be in position in time, wait for the next chair. A last second scramble can have the operator reaching for the slow or stop button.
Raking and shovelling are part of the job - not a favourite task for most, but you will get a smile if you compliment the operator.
When I learned to ski, we learned to say thank-you to the operator each time we loaded.
Hats off to the lift ops................except maybe the one who asked to see my lift pass today, and called me sir. :)