The Vision Statement of Chester Bowl is “To promote sustainable, quality programs for all Chester Bowl Park users in a healthy and safe environment.” While Chester Park is a City of Duluth park, all of the programs at the park are operated by Chester Bowl. Chester Bowl has a number of goals and objectives. It seeks to promote healthy living through a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities. It aims to serve individuals and families from all socio-economic backgrounds. It strives to offer a friendly and safe environment to learn skiing and snowboarding. It works to help teenagers gain confidence and leadership skills while furnishing a positive space in which to hang out. And it endeavors to provide year-round programming and events for people of all ages. In the process of providing this programming, we create a true community of Park Users recreating together in a peaceful, respectful environment.
Chester Bowl runs programs year-round. During the winter, it operates a popular downhill ski and snowboard area that has enabled generations of Minnesotans to learn to ski and snowboard. Chester Bowl has furthered its vision of a healthy Duluth by purchasing and then renting hundreds of pairs of skis, poles, snowboards, boots, and helmets at a minimal cost to users, and for those who cannot afford the modest expense, there are scholarships. Chester Bowl believes that anyone who wants to ski or snowboard should be able to, and it consistently makes this possible. In addition to the $42,000 in scholarships awarded for the 2022/2023 winter, Chester Bowl provides free lessons to those participating in its winter program. This past winter there were over 1,200 rentals for the season, along with over 1,900 season pass holders. Skiers, both adults and children, use the equipment at Chester Bowl, as well as at one of the seveN additional ski areas (Spirit Mountain, Giants Ridge, Mont du Lac, Lutsen, Mount Ski Gull, Whitecap Resort, and Mount Ashwabay) to which their Chester Bowl pass entitles them to a free or reduced cost day on the slopes. The chalet at Chester Bowl maintains an inexpensive food service for users of the ski area, and the CBIC sponsors ski and snowboard races that are tremendously popular with children. Freestyle Fridays give instruction and competition in the terrain park. Skiing and snowboarding are known as expensive sports, but at Chester Bowl we remove those financial barriers.
During the summer months Chester Bowl operates a day camp, the Chester Bowl Day Camp. Our unofficial motto is that “we promise to return your child tired, happy, and dirty.” With a daily capacity of 105 campers, nearly 200 different children ages 6-12 attending at least one of our programming days last summer. Camp runs Mondays through Thursdays for 10 weeks of summer, and families can sign up for whatever number of weeks works for them, and can choose from camp sites of Lower Chester, Middle Chester, and Upper Chester. The day camp takes advantage of Chester Bowl’s natural environment while also sponsoring field trips to locations such as City and State Parks and the Duluth Public Library. Honoring our commitment to have anyone participate in our programs regardless of ability to pay, we awarded over $32,000 in summer scholarships last year, the equivalent of 800 days of camp!. Also during the summer, Chester Bowl partners with the City of Duluth to host the Chester Creek Concerts Series at Chester Bowl; an average of 475 people attended the outdoor concerts each week in 2023. And approximately 10,000 people take advantage of Chester Park every year to play softball and soccer, to hike or ski its cross-country trails, to walk their dogs, to enjoy a picnic by its creek, to use its playground equipment, or to dryland train (for skiing, but without snow).
The Fall Festival organized by Chester Bowl is tremendously popular, with its booths featuring the work of local artists and the produce of local farmers, and the Chester Bowl stage featuring a number of musical acts. In 2023, more than 10,000 people attended the festival. Chester Bowl also rents out the Thom Storm Chalet to local organizations and families for their events.