Camp Fortune is a tight bike park with technical DH and XC riding, with lift access for the DH riders.
The day I visited, a Quebec Cup Downhill race was being staged here, so, the South side of the mountain (Skyline lift - see map) with lift and parking lot off the road below. The lift was closed to day users, so I had to settle for parking at the ski main lodge area (main parking lot off Fortune Parkway). I also had to suck it up and ride my big rig up the hill, using the gravel road to the CBC tower at the top (but turning off onto trail #1 before the top).
What I found was more than enough to keep a DH'er happy, and the technical XC rider with a good 5" of suspension in the same game. I'll save a review of the lift access area for another day.
Fortune has made the most out of the bike runs that face the main (lodge) facing slopes. The trails wind in tight switchbacks with a bit of pedalling required before your next downward section, making it an incredibly fun run. I met a father and son at the top of the Clifford lift near the tower (I rode to the top following the road that takes you up to the Aerial park, then follow the red arrows for the bike trails instead of reaching the tower itself) also bumnmed out by not having lift access, and, they gave me a tour. These guys both ride big hits, and mine was a 2003 version, so we were team specialized for the day. We rode up top, and, followed the hooting and hollering until we arrived at an excellent place to view the QCUP DH race. In fact, we parked at the "Dump" a section of the Qcup trail notorious for rider spills. Normally this trail is open to lift riders but not on race day.
I watched in amazement as the riders tore up the mostly rocky section, choosing lines quickly and in some cases, barely maintaining control. This run is available to the regular rider, and we all commented on how we could do these very sections, just not fast. Sure.
After watching the Qcup race for a while, we ventured back to our bikes, and back to the trails that were open on the Clifford side. That's when we hit the trail that winds it's way down the mountain, it was a lot of fun, a lot of exposed rock, not a ton of flow -- but fun just the same. We ended up at the bottom of the Clifford chair, and ready to climb and repeat. Other notorious trails on Fortune are Salamander, ...
There are a myriad of trails on the two sides of camp fortune, enough for a good play day, but it's not quite the Whistler flow (A-line, Dirt Merchant, Crank it Up). It's more technical, more rock. For flow, in the east, check out Bromont in Quebec, and Calabogie just west of Ottawa or bite the bullet and fly to Whistler! Make pilgrimmage.
I'll be back to ride the chair access area on fortune, and, update this listing with more pics, and, a better description of the trail options. Safe to say though that with a day of exploring on Fortune, you'd find everything.
From Ottawa take Howy #5 North out of Hull/Gatineau until you get to the Old Chelsea exit. Cross over the highway, and, proceed straight through the quaint town, following the mountain valley road as it winds deeper into the Gatineau hills. You never make a turn as you proceed through Old Chelsea, even if the road winds. Eventually, you will see on your left a downhill run for Fortune, and a parking area opposite. You can park here, if you have a pass, and take the chair up.
To get to the aerial park and for DHers who want to ride up, and for XC riders who want the XC trails (there is a network of these also, and some are really a merger of the two worlds), you turn up Fortune Parkway heading up into the hills. You'll see a large sign for that, so don't worry that you'll miss it. The highway winds it's way up Fortune, and, follow the signs to the ski area and bike area of Fortune. Again, it's the same area that aerial park visitors drive to.
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