All posts by Dave Schaeffer

Chester Bowl early Ski Patrol

Chester Bowl has such a rich history! Did you know that there was a youth Ski Patrol in the early 70’s, before the National Ski Patrol as we know it now started at Chester in 1974? These high school volunteers helped monitor the tow rope, including watching for injuries occurring and stopping the rope if needed, in exchange for free skiing! This was an era with alpine skiing, ski jumping, and Nordic skiing all happening in the park. We hope you enjoy these photos and news stories, contributed by Aethan Hart, one of those first ski patrollers.

You can read his memoir at this link!

1971 Zenith yearbook, Volume 76, 1970-71, published by Zenith Staff, Central High School, Duluth, Minnesota.

1970 Zenith yearbook, Volume 75, 1969-70, published by Zenith Staff, Central High School, Duluth, Minnesota.
Aethan was Patrolman of the year in 1970!

Opening Weekend Updates!

We are so excited! Opening Day is almost here! Chester Bowl opens for the season on Saturday, December 19th, at 11am.

There is a LOT that is different this year, and things have been shifting constantly, including through the Governor’s Executive Order updates announced yesterday. We ask that you please read through this entire post so that you know what to expect this season at Chester Bowl, and to be a partner with us to make sure that we can stay safe and stay open.

Here are the most important things for you to know:

1. Things will change! We are sharing our plan for the start of the season, but we expect shifts to happen throughout the winter. Please continue to read our emails to stay informed if we need to change policies and procedures.

2. We need your help with your children- whether you are here skiing and boarding with them or dropping them off, please talk with them in advance about expectations (yours, theirs, and ours!), so they know in advance what this winter will be like and what they will need to do.

3. For opening weekend, we are open Saturday 12/19 and Sunday 12/20 from 11- 4:30 each day. We are open Monday, 12/21 from 4:30-8:30. After being closed Tuesday through Friday 12/22-12/25, we will open again for Holiday Break, when we will be open from 11-4:30 daily (12/26-1/3).

4. Masks are required! This includes in the lift line, on the lift, in the bathrooms, in front of chalet, or anywhere else that there are others around you. We recommend that you wear a cloth mask, and then have a buff over that, and just get in the habit of always having it on when you are here. And then bring a second set for when the first one gets wet and cold! Please wear your mask so it covers your mouth and your nose. Gloves or mittens are required while on the chairlift.

5. It is essential that we keep social distancing of at least six feet between households in the lift line. The best way to visualize this is to think about the fact that you control the distance between yourself and the person in front of you. If we all keep at least two feet of space between the tip of our skis/board and the tail of the person in front of you, we will be properly spaced. We will also have visual reminders about spacing in the lift line.

6. Only members of the same household may ride the chairlift together. There are no exceptions for riding with those from other households, even if you consider yourself a “pod” or spend time in each others’ houses.

7. Please don’t gather in groups with friends at the chalet or on the hill. We all miss seeing our friends, but we must always be maintaining a minimum of six feet of physical distance between people from different households.

8. The warming space in the Chalet is closed entirely this year, except for use by staff, scheduled volunteers, ski patrollers, and those receiving medical assistance. This season, your car is your chalet. Please arrive ready to ski! The bathrooms will be open from the side door of the Chalet only, with a maximum of two people in a bathroom at any given time.

9. The new Executive Order does allow for lessons to occur, with a “private lesson” model. The departure from our traditional group lessons does decrease our capacity to meet the need for lessons, but we have added lessons on Sundays as well as Saturdays to help more people learn to ski and snowboard!  Lessons will be 45 minutes long, with an instructor serving one single household. We are still finalizing the plan, but you can expect to see information about registration (and you must be pre-registered for lessons) within the next few days. As always, lessons are free to those with a season pass or a daily lift ticket. We will offer daily lessons over break (12/26-12/30), and then start weekend lessons on Saturdays and Sundays beginning on January 2.

10. For the first weekend, our outdoor concession stand will be selling hand warmers and daily lift tickets only. We will NOT be selling any food or beverages. Based on the new Executive Order, we are assessing whether we will be able to sell food out of the concessions stand after the first weekend. The concession stand will also be the main point for information or to contact staff.  You are welcome to bring your own food and snacks to Chester Bowl. You can eat them in your car or outdoors, as long as you maintain social distancing from those in other households. We will have benches to sit on, but no picnic tables.

11. Do you still need season passes? You can come to Chester during any hours that the hill is open. You can read more about getting passes at  Please check in at the concessions stand upon arrival. Be sure to bring cash or a check and a small photograph of each person that we can laminate in your pass! Opening day may be busy, so you may need to be patient if you arrive right away in the morning.

12. Do you still need to rent equipment for the season? We do still have a limited number of skis available. For this weekend, please reach out to us in advance to set up an appointment for a gear fitting. After opening weekend, we are able to fit you for gear during open hours.

13. We are still working on our plan for Cadets. The new executive order gave us more clarity in what Cadets will be able to do this year. If you registered for the Cadet program, you can expect an email from Sam in the next few days.

14. We are not able to offer Freestyle Friday under current restrictions. If this changes, we will re-assess if we can offer the program later in the season. 

15. Was this list too short for you, and you want more details? You can read our entire Pandemic Plan here: Additional overall information is at

Thank you for reading through this entire post. With the support of all of you in the Chester Bowl community, together we can minimize the risk of COVID-19 while spending time active and outdoors this winter. We can’t wait to see you on the hill!

With gratitude,

Dave & Sam

Rescheduled Opening Day- December 19, 2020

We are postponing Chester Bowl’s opening day, with a new target date of Saturday, December 19th. Due to the warm temps we have not been able to make snow these past couple of weeks. Because of this lack of snow, Chester Bowl will not be open this weekend as hoped.

As disappointing as this news is, we do have some good news! The temps look as though they will FINALLY drop to where we need them to be to make snow starting this weekend.

If this forecast holds, we will be making snow around the clock. Our goal is to open for the season on Saturday, December 19!

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we get the hill ready for the season. You can expect to see another update from us next week confirming our opening date and with additional information on what to expect with operations this year, and what we need all skiers and snowboarder to do to help keep everyone safe. We can’t wait to see all of you on the hill!

Provost Family Scholarship Donation in Memory of Jeff Provost

Chester Bowl has always been known for its open, caring, generous community. Community is not about a building, a natural space, or even about the activities that people do there. It is about the people.

One of the people that has best demonstrated what Chester Bowl is all about is Jeff Provost. Jeff was part of the Chester Bowl community for four decades before he passed away in March, 2020. The Provost family has honored Jeff’s memory with a $2,000 donation to the scholarship fund, with additional commitments in future years.

Jeff Provost

Jeff and his wife Brenda moved into the Chester Bowl neighborhood in 1981. All three of their children, Megan, Tom, and David, learned to ski at Chester Bowl, and spent countless hours there with their neighborhood friends. Jeff and Brenda re-learned skiing here, and found themselves making friends here too, leading to multi-family ski trips to ski areas like Indianhead and Blackjack. Jeff was very involved in Chester Bowl as a volunteer, including being on the Board of Directors from about 1995-2000, and he was Board President for three years. He was involved in organizing parents’ night, and was especially known for his season-ending pig roasts! One of the most special moments was when he was recently able to start skiing at Chester Bowl with his first grandchild.

A Thank You note to Jeff after one of his famous pig roasts!

Chester was never just a winter destination for the Provost family- they were also part of the summer camp program. And as the Provost children grew up, they became teen volunteers here in the summer Incredible Exchange program and in the winter as Cadets.

When we asked Brenda why she chose to honor Jeff with a donation to the Scholarship Fund, she replied that “This park is part of the heart of our family. We always felt that this was a safe place for kids to be. The bigger kids were always looking out for the little kids, and it is one big family.”

Thank you to the Provost Family for your donation to our scholarship program to honor Jeff. We are humbled that you chose us, and delighted that Jeff’s legacy will continue to support the next generation of families here at Chester Bowl. We all miss Jeff, but we take some comfort that Chester Bowl is a better place because of Jeff and the Provost family.