Cheers to Chester event raises money for chalet renovation

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Chester Park is used by the community year-round, from summer concerts to trails to skiing and snowboarding at Chester Bowl. 

Ski Hut Owner Scott Neustel said his father grew up skiing at Chester Bowl. Neustel followed this tradition and passed it along to his now-adult children. 

“We grew up on 19th Avenue East when I was a kid and my children started skiing at Chester Bowl,” said Neustel. “It’s taught thousands of kids to ski over the years.”

With so many enjoying the Thom Storm Chalet over the years, renovation is needed. 

“We love the chalet. Generations of memories have been made there, but it is no longer big enough for our programs,” said Chester Bowl Improvement Club Executive Director Dave Schaeffer. “It at this point, has a lot of repair needs. It is not ADA accessible and it just really needs to be worked on and expanded as well.”

‘Growing up Chester’ is a capital campaign by Chester Bowl that is raising money to renovate and expand the chalet. 

“The building will grow from two levels to three. So we’ll gain that much more space. The second level will be opened up to be all a wide open community room, whether it’s for summer campers use during thunderstorms, whether it’s a warm up on a cold winter day, or if it’s for groups to have special events or meetings there,” explained Schaeffer.

A project of this size can be costly. 

“This is an ambitious project. It’s a $2.7 million project. We have a grant that we can apply for that could pay for half of that. We need to raise our half first,” said Schaeffer. “We’ve raised just over $600,000. We have $735,000 to go.”

To help raise money for ‘Growing up Chester’, Ski Hut hosted an event at Bent Paddle on Thursday. There was live music, raffle prizes, and a food truck. Ski Hut has also donated $30,000 to the capital campaign. Ski Hut founder Wes Neustel donated $20,000 personally before he passed away a few years ago. Scott continues to support the cause. 

“The current chalet is undersized, that the demand is so high for services for the programing, not only in the winter but in the summer,” said Neustel. “So the addition is certainly needed and the elevator to make it more accessible is also very much needed. So the only place it can go is up.”