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Duluth Winters are loooong

For the first time in a decade, I did not partake in the fall ritual of ski-fitting. My boys have grown up. Spirit Mountain passes in hand, they’re off to black diamond runs, snowboarding terrain parks, and afternoons in the chalet with their high school friends. I’m practically tearing up just thinking about it.

The snow has not even flown, and I’m longing for the days of dropping them off just a few minutes from home, a couple bucks in their pockets for a hotdog and a hot chocolate. My sweet little slope-bombers, who literally logged hundreds of hours each season on Chester Bowl’s compact runs.

Charlie and Ben first strapped on skis at ages six and four, and Chester Bowl immediately became the center of their childhood. Their many friendships, their sense of confidence, their sense of responsibility—so much of who they are now as young men, as teens, can be directly traced to the endless days they spent exploring their abilities and their relationships at Chester. First as skiers, then ski cadets, and finally working in the summer camp program as “Incredibles” to earn their Spirit Mountain passes.

To have such a place, where kids can be outdoors and active and hanging out and challenging themselves and really independent and still under the watchful eyes of thoughtful adults… can you even think of another such place in this day and age? When these kids are having families of their own, I’ll bet this will be the measuring stick by which childhoods will be measured. And it will tough to measure up.

My affection and gratitude for Chester Bowl is also selfish. I would have gone full-out batty in winter with those kids locked up inside. I shudder to think of what kind of parent I would have been had I been forced to contend with two rammy boys and a long Duluth winter. Or ten. Nor can I imagine how I would have funded winter fun without the rental program. I was able to give those boys a lifetime sport that was well out of our financial reach. I even skied myself a few years!

I expect my boys will still show up a bit at Chester Bowl this winter. The hill will look smaller to them again this year, and the little kids will seem to take up all the room on the chairlift. But this place is home to our family, and we’ll be back—on the slopes, at the fundraisers, and hopefully, for the last day of skiing, when the frozen pond is topped off with water and the kids fly down the hill and do spectacular, hypothermic wipeouts. (That’s my favorite day of the season!)


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Hours & Events

Monday, Feb. 23
4:30-8:30 Chairlift Open

Tuesday, Feb. 24
Lift Closed

Wednesday, Feb. 25
Lift Closed

Thursday, Feb. 26
4:30-8:30 Lift Open

Friday, Feb. 27
4:30-8:30 Lift Open
Beatles Night!
5:30 Bulldog Pizza in the concession stand
6:00 Freestyle Fridays in the terrain park- Sponsored by Continental Ski and Bike

Saturday, Feb. 28
11-4:30 Lift Open
Snow golf, tug-of-war, outdoor games, limbo contest on skis & snowboards, hay rides, mini-snowmobile rides, marshmallow roasting, uphill ski & snowboard race, drop the puck into the bucket from the chairlift and more! FREE! Volunteers still needed!
2:30-4:30 Pre-registration for Sunday's race

Sunday, March 1
11-4:30 Lift Open
11-12:30 Kiwanis Trophy Race Registration - TROPHIES to all competitors NO LATE REGISTRATIONS
1:15 Kiwanis Race starts

GENERAL SCHEDULE (Holidays and school breaks will vary)

Sundays, 11:00 AM-4:30 PM

Mondays, 4:30 PM-8:30 PM

Tuesdays and Wednesdays, CLOSED

Thursdays, 4:30 PM-8:30 PM

Fridays, 4:30 PM-8:30 PM
Freestyle Fridays most Fridays at 6:00 PM

Saturdays, 11:00 AM- 4:30 PM
11:30 Adult ski lessons (all ability levels)
12:30 Snowboard lessons
1:30 Non-skier lessons (can not go up lift on own)
3:00 Beginner and Intermediate lessons (can ride on lift and improving skills)


Chester Bowl Improvement Club
1801 East Skyline
Duluth, MN 55812
phone: (218) 724-9832

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Inclusiveness Policy

Chester Bowl Improvement Club (CBIC) is deeply committed to providing a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment in the park and in our programs. CBIC is committed to preventing bullying and harassment in our community and expect all program participants to sign our Peace in the Parks pledge. For both employment and access to programs and activities, the CBIC will not engage in discrimination against any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation including gender identity.