So long, old friend: Duluth tears down Chester Park ski jumps - Bring Me The News

So long, old friend: Duluth tears down Chester Park ski jumps


Its predecessor was toppled by the wind three times in a decade. But Big Chester Bowl Ski Jump stood tall on the edge of Duluth for 90 years. Until Tuesday.

MPR News reports an excavator arrived to knock down the old ski jump that was used by generations of Olympians but fell into disrepair in its later years and hadn't hosted a competition in a decade.

Plans call for a new ski jump in Chester Park, possibly even this winter.The decision to knock down the dilapidated structure – along with its younger sibling, Little Chester – was made more than two weeks ago.

The executive director of the Chester Bowl Improvement Club agreed with the city's decision. Thom Storm told WDIO: "From a safety point of view, I think it's really the only option. The boards are rotten, the steel and some of the rivets have popped. It's a dangerous thing."

Nonetheless, the demise of Big Chester is a loss to those who made it part of their lives.

George Hovland, who used the jump as a springboard to the 1952 Olympics in the Nordic combined event, tells MPR "It's like losing an old friend."

The Zenith City Archive contains a passage from the book Lost Duluth on Chester Park's ski jumps. It says the Duluth Ski Club's first structure at the site launched legendary jumper Ole Feiring to a U.S. record of 112 feet in 1908, the year after it was built.

But after the aforementioned blowdowns, the club took another run at it. When Big Chester went up in 1924 the 115 foot slide was the biggest in the world. The Chester Bowl Improvement Club has a page of historic photos of Big Chester, including one of the crowd at the 1926 meet that dedicated the steel jump.

Duluth's community relations director tells WDIO a new ski run could be ready as soon as this winter, with a memorial to Big Chester likely to be ready early in 2016.

Next Up

Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen

Vikings will face Everson Griffen twice after trade to Lions

The former Vikings star was traded to Detroit for a fifth-round pick.

Jordana Green

WCCO Radio's Jordana Green diagnosed with leukemia

"I got this," Green wrote on her Facebook page.


Minnesota-based Crisp & Green adds 20 locations in four states

The four-year-old local business says it's going national

victoria burrow pizza

Fair-inspired entertainment venue opening at Mall of America

Fair on 4 will feature axe throwing, go carts and more.


Canceled: The Halloween bar crawl that no bars knew about

The dubiously organized event was planned for this weekend in Minneapolis.

covid saliva test

St. Cloud gets Minnesota's 6th COVID-19 saliva testing site

Four more sites are expected to open in the Twin Cities in the coming weeks.

burnsville center

Part of Burnsville Center is being auctioned off

More than 500,000 square feet of the mall is being auctioned off.

State Capitol

Elections 2020: Control of Minnesota's divided Legislature is up for grabs

Redistricting and responding to COVID-19 are among the issues the new legislature will have to deal with.


Rochester woman found dead in the snow after leaving senior residence

The woman left the senior living center around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 10.43.19 AM

Investigation: Sprinklers could have saved 5 killed in Minneapolis high-rise fire

The deadly fire broke out at the Cedar-Riverside apartment block last November.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, October 27

Hospitalizations continue to rise quickly in Minnesota.