Photo provided by Kris Westwood, Zone Sports News
Fred Morris was the most dedicated supporter of ski jumping in Ottawa until his untimely death several years ago. It was through his single-minded determination and efforts that the jumps were maintained and flourished. Unfortunately, not even Fred could prevent the financial mismanagement which caused the bankruptcy of the Ottawa Ski Club and threatened the very existence of Camp Fortune in the early 1990s. This course of events resulted in the Camp Fortune ski area eventually being purchased and taken over by the National Capital Commission, an agency of the Canadian federal government. By this point in time the larger jumps at Camp Fortune were somewhat in disrepair and no longer met FIS standards. Rather than assist in rehabilitating the large jump at Camp Fortune as the local jumping community had hoped the National Capital Commission condemned the jump and tore it down to and including its foundations. The only evidence of the jump remaining was the judging tower and a swath in the woods. Seventy Five years of jumping tradition at Camp Fortune was apparently at an end.
A further indignation was brought onto the Camp Fortune ski jumping hills several years ago when a group of freestyle aerialists attempted to turn the site of the old large jump into an aerials jumping location. The site was cleared of trees and the site reconfigured into an aerials hill. Only then did the developers realize that the very thing that makes the site ideal for ski jumping -- its lovely updraft coming up the hill -- made it totally unsuitable for aerials. The site hosted one competition, was widely criticized and abandoned by the aerialists.
While the Ottawa area lacked ski jumping facilities it never has lacked ski jumpers. Dedicated volunteers continued to maintain the smaller of the hills (K-5 and K-10) which continued to be used by the local alpine community. In 2001 a group of these individuals came together and decided that ski jumping should be revived in Ottawa. While several sites were considered the history and suitability of the Camp Fortune site made it a difficult one to abandon. After due consideration it was determined that a K-60, K-40 and K-20 jump could all be built on the site of the old 60 metre jump. Construction of the K-20 (which ended up being a K-26) began in the fall of 2001 and the hill hosted a small competition in the winter of 2002. This jump has been modified slightly this fall to increase take-off speed. Work also commenced in earnest on the K-40 jump which should be finalized in the spring of 2004. The big challenge remains obtaining the funding necessary to complete the K-60 jump.
Our hills are named the "Fred Morris Memorial Ski Jumps" in honour of the man who did so much to keep ski jumping alive and thriving at Camp Fortune.
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