All posts by Dave Schaeffer

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.

Chester Bowl ski and snowboard season 2017 closed

As of the end of the day Sunday, March 19th, 2017, Chester Bowl’s Ski and Snowboard program is closed for the year.  We hope to have you with us to celebrate a successful winter at our End of Season Potluck and Awards Ceremony at 5:45 pm, Sunday, March 26th, at the Vineyard Church, 1533 Arrowhead Road.

Gear rented from Chester Bowl must be returned on April 11, 12, or 13 between 5:30 and 8:30 pm.

Special weekday hours- February break

Our typical weekly schedule is to be open during days (11:00-4:30) on weekends, nights on Monday, Thursday, and Friday (4:30-8:30), and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

However, our hours sometimes shift when Duluth public schools are scheduled to be closed.  We will be open during our day hours only (11:00-4:30) during the Duluth Public Schools February Winter Break Week- February 20-24- and we will be open each day Monday through Friday that week.

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