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This article first appeared in the November 13, 2019 issue of the The Low Down to Hull and Back News.External Link Reprinted with permission. Search complete list of Low Down Articles.

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Camp Fortune to party like it's 1920

By Hunter Cresswell

It's been 100 years since Camp Fortune established itself as the skiing hub of Gatineau Park and the resort is marking the milestone by inviting the community to celebrate its centenarian status this year.

Camp Fortune
Cross-country skiers at Camp Fortune in 1931. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Historical Society.

"We're pretty excited about it," Camp Fortune spokesperson Erin Boucher said. "Our plans are rolling out as we speak."

Boucher has been at Camp Fortune for one-fifth of its time as a resort. She started working at Camp Fortune 20 years ago as a dishwasher for her aunts who had a catering contract there.

"I grew up working here, it's a big part of my life," Boucher said.

And it's not just a big part of her life - people from all over the National Capital Region and the Hills flock to carve some turns into Camp Fortune's groomed slopes.

"There's such a deep history at Camp Fortune, we want to share that with our community," Boucher said.

Camp Fortune
Andy Tommy, who developed the Edelweiss Ski Hill in La Pêche, finished with a time of 1 minute, 7 seconds in the downhill ski race during the 1949 Central Canada Ski Championships at Camp Fortune. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

People can start celebrating the Gatineau Park and Chelsea institution this weekend since it will have two runs open on Nov. 16.

While other 100-year events are being planned, exact dates haven't been finalized so people should keep an eye on the resort's website and social media for upcoming happenings. To celebrate Camp Fortune's history, Boucher is working to get historic films from Archives Canada.

Souvenirs displaying the new Camp Fortune logo and 100- year anniversary design will be sold for $20 or less at customer service. The designs were drawn up by Pat Biggs, who grew up skiing at Camp Fortune and competed in World Cup and Olympic ski races before directing the Camp Fortune Ski Club up until last year, Boucher said.

Camp Fortune
Ski jumper, only named as Laferte in the archives, reached 146 feet at the Lockeberg Ski Jump at the 1949 Central Canada Ski Championships at Camp Fortune. Photo courtesy Gatineau Valley Historical Society.

The resort has come a long way from its cross-country ski roots. The Ottawa Ski Club, founded in 1920, bought Garrett Fortune's camp near Fortune Lake the year of its founding. The existing camp building became the first lodge, hence the 'Camp' in Camp Fortune, according to the resort's website.

New this year are 12 new tower snow-guns and an air and water line near the run called Marshall as well as new glade or tree runs.

"We continue to invest in our snowmaking," Boucher said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to open Marshall quickly with full coverage... We'll have some beginner glades at Allen's Alley. We've had a crew of passionate skiers working all summer."

The mountain coaster the resort got approval to develop as a warm-season attraction along with its aerial park and zipline will be "our signature item for 2020," Boucher said.

The lodge expansion project - which, as presented to the Chelsea Planning and Sustainable Development Advisory Committee in May, would see the lodge reach a total of 12,000 square feet - has been delayed until April, 2020, but the resort is still committed to it, Boucher said.

The resort offers six chairlifts, one surface lift, and two magic carpets to access the 25 runs. For more information visit campfortune.com.