All posts by Dave Schaeffer

Season opening Saturday, 12/16/17!

Chester Bowl is opening for the season on Saturday, December 16th.  We are open Saturday and Sunday from 11-4:30, and Monday night from 4:30-8:30pm.  We hope you join us!

Volunteers and staff in the pictures below are preparing for the big day, and snowmaking has been very successful (with a little natural stuff helping out too!).  Expect great conditions!

 

4th Grade Passport Program

The Minnesota Ski Areas Association (MSA) wants to give Minnesota kids a chance to get out, have fun and get healthy this winter by hitting the Minnesota Slopes!

MSA has created a statewide program that provides every 4th grader the opportunity to ski for free.   Your passport includes a minimum of two visits to each resort. For Chester Bowl, passholders receive unlimited free day passes with their MSA Passport.  Please note that we do not offer day rentals of skis or snowboards, and anyone purchasing our season-long rentals must have a regular season pass.

MSA charges $19.95 for the passport (to cover printing and shipping).  Please see this website for more information and to purchase your passport.

2017 Season Pass paperwork

If you attended our Ski and Snowboard Lottery, you should have your snowboard or ski fitting date for your rental scheduled. If you were not able to make it, please call us at the chalet to schedule a time (while spots last).  If you are only getting a season pass, not renting gear, you can come on any fitting night (Nov 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, and 21, 5:30-8:30 each evening). Full details are at the Winter Ski and Snowboard tab above, but a quick link to the paperwork packet if you would like to fill it out in advance is at this link. We will have paper copies at the fitting, but some families prefer to save time and work on it in advance.

Skis, Suds, & Slices Nov 10, 2017

Our 10th Skis, Suds, & Slices is coming up, and we want you to be there! This annual fundraiser for Chester Bowl’s Scholarship Fund, is Friday, November 10th, 6-9pm, at Clyde Iron (2920 W Michigan Street, Duluth, 55806).

Skis, Suds, & Slices is a pizza, wine, and beer tasting event with a silent auction. You will get to vote on the “Twin Ports’ Best Pizza” to help determine who keeps the travelling trophy !  Spend the night in conversation with friends new and old while perusing the fantastic items in our silent auction and participating in other games.

Full information can be found here.

Chester Bowl Ski & Snowboard Lottery Tuesday 10/24/17

The 2017 Chester Bowl Ski and Snowboard Lottery is Tuesday, October 24th, at the Vineyard Church (1533 W Arrowhead Road).

Registration begins at 5:30, with the program starting at 6pm. Because of the time required to park and register, we strongly recommend arriving no later than 5:45 pm so that we can start promptly at 6.

The Ski and Snowboard Lottery is a required event for anyone looking to rent gear for the season at Chester Bowl. All season rental families must also purchase a Chester Bowl Season Pass. Our rental system is different than most ski areas; we rent out equipment for the entire season, and it is yours to keep with you all winter, even using at other ski areas.  We do NOT offer daily equipment rentals.  Rentals packages are either a ski package (skis, boots, poles, helmet) or a snowboard package (snowboard, boots, helmet).

As you arrive, you will register yourself to have your family added to our lottery.  Once the event starts, Chester Bowl staff and volunteers will give a brief overview of the programs offered at Chester Bowl, as well as upcoming events and the required volunteering commitment.  We will then draw names of the families in attendance. When your name is called, you will go to the signup area and register your family for the earliest remaining fitting time that works for you. You are then able to leave the lottery.  Families that are new to Chester Bowl and those that completed their volunteer hours last winter are in the first pool to be drawn. Those that were prior participants and did NOT complete their volunteer hours will be in the second drawing.

You will also have the opportunity to begin signing up for your volunteer hours, and also to purchase tickets to November 10th’s Skis, Suds, & Slices fundraiser.

Fitting dates will be published soon, but we will have at least nine fitting nights on weeknights starting on the 1st of November.

Only one adult from each family needs to attend the lottery.  Children are welcome, but most families choose to come without them if possible.  No payments are required or accepted at the lottery. Payment is due at the time of purchase/rental at the fitting nights.

Last year we were able to pilot a snowboard rental program with 50 snowboards thanks to a grant from Essentia Health Community Contributions. Because demand last year far exceeded our supply, we did purchase additional equipment this offseason and have nearly doubled our snowboard inventory!  The snowboard fittings will be on the first fitting night. Families can sign up for both a snowboard and skis so that they have a ski fitting night reserved if they were not able to get a snowboard.

If you are not renting gear this year, and are just purchasing a season pass, you DO NOT need to attend the lottery.  If you are hoping to rent gear, but can not get someone to the lottery, please contact us as soon as possible AFTER the lottery, and we will add you to the fittings as space is available.

In many winters we do rent out all of our equipment to those who have come to the lottery, and may not be able to accommodate everyone who contacts us after the lottery,  so we STRONGLY recommend coming to the lottery if you want to rent gear this season.

With any questions about our winter program, please contact Sam at 724-9832 or sam@chesterbowl.org.

Chalet Renovation Update December 2016

For the past two years, there has been some very quiet work behind the scenes as we move forward with a significant renovation and expansion of our beloved Thom Storm Chalet.  This email is designed to give an update on our progress and an idea of what we are working on moving forward.  We also have great volunteer opportunities coming up soon, and will need your help!  This is a long post, but please read through to the end for full information on the project!

After the City of Duluth passed the Chester Park Mini-Master plan in November 2014, our Chester Bowl Improvement Club (CBIC) Board of Directors and Development Committee began researching the feasibility of expanding our Chalet. 

If you have been in the chalet on a busy ski day, you know we are at our capacity for use!  Our programs continue to grow, without any advertising, and we need more space for participants to be during programming. This is also true for our summer day camp, where we have had to cap enrollment well below interest levels; even though kids are outside 95% of the time, we need a safe indoor space for when we have inclement weather.  The building is extremely energy inefficient, and different spaces in the building are often too hot and too cold simultaneously.  There are significant upcoming maintenance needs.  And the Chalet is not compliant with ADA accessibility standards. We couldn’t even host our own public meetings here because the only access to the upper level is by stairs.  For these reasons, and many more, we are pursuing a significant renovation and expansion of the Thom Storm Chalet.

Working with LHB Architects, who have been providing their services free of charge (thank you LHB!) we held a series of public meetings and events to get feedback on what our community’s needs are for a renovated building and to create a preliminary design plan for the building. This plan was approved by the City of Duluth Parks Commission, and has been presented to staff of the Planning Department.   You can review the plan online at http://www.chesterbowl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/150582-CBIC-Drawings-041216.pdf.

We also recruited our Capital Campaign Leadership Team, which is responsible for leading the rest of the project through to building completion and celebration.  This group has been meeting weekly since October (at 7 am!) to determine our final project cost and put together the plan for raising the funds necessary.  They will lead fundraising, the completion of construction ready design plans with LHB, the construction of the building with our contractors, and the celebration of our completed chalet.  This group of committed volunteers includes Fundraising Co-Chairs Corbin Smyth and Curt Leitz, Communications Chair Jordan Milan, and Building Design Chair Deb Kellner, supported by Executive Director Dave Schaeffer.  If you see them around town, please say “Thank you!”

So, what’s next?  The biggest question we get asked is, “When will construction start?”.  We know that we will time it so that we do not miss a winter season, but we do not have a start date at this time; it depends on the speed of success of our capital campaign.  The earliest we anticipate possible construction is Spring 2018, but it is much more likely that construction would begin in 2019 or 2020.  We will start the “quiet” phase of the campaign early in 2017, soliciting donations from our largest potential individual donors and corporate sponsors.  You won’t hear much from us during this time, until we start up our public campaign six months to a year later. 

For this first phase, we need a few more volunteers in several key roles.  We are looking to recruit people to be directly involved in fundraising, soliciting donations from corporations, individuals, and our Chester Bowl community at large, and grantwriting.  These first positions would be directly involved in the planning of our public outreach campaign in their specific focus area.  We also need several “party planners” to help plan and implement special events during the duration of the campaign, with the first likely to be in March 2017.  Please reply directly to Dave at dave@chesterbowl.org if you are interested in these roles, or call him at 724-9832 for more details on the positions.

If these are not a fit for you, please know there will be many other ways to help out over the next few years.  We are counting on all of you- our Chester Bowl Community- to help us make this vision a reality.  All volunteer hours spent with our campaign count towards your family’s winter program volunteer commitment. 

Thank you for reading all the way to the end, and thank you for your support. 

Dave and the Capital Campaign Leadership Team

Key volunteers needed!

Chalet in fall

We need your help!

The Thom Storm Chalet is in need of an expansion and a complete renovation.   Our board and several volunteer committees have been working on the planning stages for well over a year, but our most challenging tasks remain- raising over $1 million dollars and facilitating the final design of the building.  We are confident that we can achieve these goals with the help of a Leadership Team that we are recruiting to coordinate the rest of the project.  Two Fundraising Co-Chairs, a Communications Chair, and a Building Design chair will be supported by the Executive Director as they lead this campaign.  These are key volunteer roles that are essential to our campaign success, and we are taking them as seriously as hiring new employees; that’s why we have implemented an application process.

Please check out our volunteer recruitment packet for more details, including a more detailed summary of the project, volunteer job descriptions (with estimated time commitments), a timeline, and more.  The preliminary building design plans are found here, with an exterior rendering below. We welcome phone calls for additional information (218-724-9832).

chalet drawing

Do you have the skills and talents to help us continue our positive impact on the families of Duluth for generations to come?  Please consider applying to be part of our Leadership Team.  To apply, simply send a cover letter and resume to Dave Schaeffer by email at dave@chesterbowl.org or by mail to 1801 East Skyline Parkway, Duluth, MN 55812.  Applications are accepted through September 16th, with volunteers selected and starting work shortly afterwards.

In recognition of the significant volunteer commitment of the Capital Campaign Leadership Team, the selected volunteers will receive priority registration for their immediate family for programming (including the Summer Adventure Program) and free season passes and rentals for themselves and their immediate family during our winter ski/snowboard season.

If this is not a fit for you as a volunteer, who do you know that may be a fit for one of these key roles?  Please give them a call and suggest it today!  If you would like to volunteer for the capital campaign, but not in one of these key volunteer roles, please contact Dave Schaeffer at the contact information above. Once the Leadership Team is assembled, they will be looking to fill dozens of volunteer positions within the capital campaign.