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Chester Bowl Ski Jumps to be Torn Down, Memorialized

Updated: 07/31/2014 10:51 PM
Created: 07/31/2014 8:53 PM WDIO.com
By: Julie Kruse
jkruse@wdio.com
Twitter: JulieMKruse

The Big Chester Bowl Ski Jump has been a part of Duluth for nearly 90 years. However, the week of August 18th, what is left of both Big and Little Chester is being torn down.

The reactions at an informational meet on Thursday night were mixed. For some, it is heartbreaking to let go of the past, while others, they are hopeful for the future.

Chester Bowl Improvement Club executive director Thom Storm has been associated with Chester Bowl for nearly 40 years. Even he agrees that the ski jumps have become more of a hazard than anything.

"From a safety point of view, I think it's really the only option," said Storm. "The boards are rotten, the steal and some of the rivets have popped. It's a dangerous thing."

The lower portions of the ski jumps were torn down in 2011 to reduce the number of people climbing on them. The Duluth City Community Relations Officer, Paula Reed, said the potential liability needs to be addressed now.

"We recognize the danger to having them just sitting there," said Reed. "No matter what you're going to do, people who want to climb them will find a way to do that."

A new ski run will be put in it's place, but more importantly, a memorial to commemorate those who cherished the jumps over the years.

"It's a great way to engage as many former ski jumpers as we can, the skiing community and all of the residents who live around and love Chester," said Reed. "I am really committed to make sure that we hear them and incorporate pieces of themselves and their history in whatever memorial is developed."

Reed said the new ski run could potentially be up and running this winter, while the memorial is scheduled to be completed in early 2016.

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