Chairlift problems force Duluth's Chester Bowl ski hill to close for weekend; races postponed

Ian Koivisto works on the chairlift system high above the runs at Chester Bowl in Duluth on Dec. 19. Chester Bowl's opening date was delayed due to issues with the chairlift. Now, the troublesome machine is on the fritz again, forcing the hill to close for the weekend. (File / Superior Telegram)
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A misbehaving chairlift has put downhill skiing and snowboarding on hold for the weekend at Chester Bowl, but the director of the operation, Dave Schaeffer, aims to reschedule the event — one of six in a series of races planned this winter.

The hill initially closed for skiing Monday due to a chairlift malfunction, so Schaeffer said he enlisted the help of a city electrician and a chairlift technician from Spirit Mountain to get the machinery working again. They took advantage of the usual downtime Tuesday and Wednesday, when Chester Bowl is typically closed unless there is no school.

Schaeffer said he believed they had the problem isolated and resolved, but when they tried to start the chairlift Thursday, another issue emerged.

Until he can figure out exactly what the problem is and what it will take to make repairs, Schaeffer said he will not predict how soon Chester Bowl will be back in action.

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