A quarter of a century later, ski jumping wants to take off again in the Outaouais
Former international athletes are piloting an ambitious project to endow the region with a new club, Le Droit learned . Gatineau’s Jean Séguin and Czech Pavol Skvaridlo would like to open two training grounds, one in an urban environment on the former slope of Lac des Fées and the other in the rural sector at Camp Fortune.
The duo have been approached by the International Ski Federation (FIS) to revive the discipline in Eastern Canada. At the moment, there is only one recognized training site. He ended up in Callaghan Valley where the 2010 Olympic Games were held.
The sport has only about 50 registered athletes with Ski Jumping Canada, including seven members of the national team who hail from Alberta and British Columbia.
“The director of the FIS, Sandro Pertile, spoke to me. He also chatted with Nik Petrov (High Performance Director of Ski Jumping Canada), who knows me well. They wanted to know which places should be targeted to develop the sport, ”said Séguin, who represented Canada on the World Cup circuit in the early 1980s.
“I then discussed it with Pavol. Now, there are five provinces interested in getting on board (…) The Canadian federation is also behind us. She is ready to help us. “
Skvaridlo, he competed under the colors of former Czechoslovakia in Nordic combined. A sport that combines cross-country skiing and ski jumping events.
After his career ended, Skvaridlo led the national and junior team of his native country. Then, he worked at the National Ski Jumping Center in Canada in the mid-1990s in Alberta. He now lives in Chelsea.
In his eyes, the region offers an interesting pool of athletes. She is full of hopes in other sports that could make the jump to ski jumping. “In Europe, all young people start cross-country and alpine skiing before making the transition. You have to know how to be in balance before you jump, ”he recalls.
“We want to start with initiation programs called ‘ Bump to Jump ‘ in English. You build small hillocks with snow that will eventually lead to big jumps, ”explains Séguin.
The latter knows himself in coaching. He managed the Envol club after his career ended prematurely due to broken legs. The adventure lasted until the mid-1990s.
At the time, there were jumps at Camp Fortune, but also at the slope of Lac des Fées. There was also alpine skiing and cross-country skiing with the Ullois and Skinouk clubs.
But the former Ville de Hull had closed the place. The chalet has disappeared. The same goes for the ski lift. The National Capital Commission (NCC) has carried out the renaturalization of the site in recent years.
“It is certain that there would be a little clearing to do. But this is the perfect place. You are right in the middle of the city. “- Jean Séguin
Trees have been planted. A portion of rue Gamelin has been demolished.
Séguin and Skvaridlo would like to convince the NCC to make room for sport at this location. The slope may be steep for them.
The crown corporation has said in the past that Gatineau Park remains primarily a conservation park. Behind the scenes, we whisper that the vocation of Lac des Fées will not change.
“Look at this. You have a great natural slope, a great view, ”says Jean Séguin, revisiting his old training site earlier this week.
“It is certain that there would be a little clearing to do. But this is the perfect place. You are right in the middle of the city. “
He and Pavol Skvaridlo would like to eventually build a 20-meter ramp. “Even having a tower, you have room to make a 40 to 50 meter jump,” he says. Materials would already be available to make future ramps usable 11 months a year, whether at Lac des Fées or Camp Fortune.
“We’ll be able to use the plastic that was used at the Calgary 1988 ski jumping site,” Skvaridlo said. The old center is no longer in use since the opening of the Callaghan Valley site.
On the side of the NCC, it is said “to be aware of the idea of bringing back spaces to practice and train ski jumping at Camp Fortune”.
“It is far too early, for the National Capital Commission, to discuss this idea, however, notes a spokesperson in an email sent to Law. A first decision about the acceptability of this activity will first be up to Camp Fortune operators. If necessary, in accordance with their lease, the decision must be evaluated within the regulatory framework of the NCC in connection with the new master plan for Gatineau Park; Gatineau Park is above all a conservation park.”
FIND THE NEXT HORST BULAU
The president of Ski Jumping Canada believes that a return of his sport to the national capital is natural.
Especially if it’s done at Camp Fortune.
“One of the best jumpers in history in the country, Horst Bulau, had been trained there,” recalls Todd Stretch.
Bulau has won World Cup gold 13 times. Junior world champion in 1979, he competed in the Olympics four times before retiring in 1992.Horst Bulau ARCHIVES, THE CANADIAN PRESS / COC
“We are looking to expand our program in the east of the country. A former athlete will kick off a program this winter in Thunder Bay. And Quebec must be part of our plans, ”says Stretch.
Ski Jumping Canada wants above all to develop its succession for the 2030 Olympic Games. Its leaders want to cast a wide net quickly in order to find future members of the national team.
A bit like freestyle skiing did in the early 2000s with Nicolas Fontaine, who had recruited former gymnasts such as Gatineau’s Olivier Rochon.
“The population is dense in the east of the country. There is potential. And we don’t need a big mountain. A slope like you find at Camp Fortune would actually be ideal. “
Ski jumping is part of sporting history in the Outaouais. There was Jean Séguin, participating in the world junior championships and reservist at the 1984 Olympic Games. His father Rhéal was also a reservist at the 1960 Games, in Squaw Valley. He was then an international judge in this discipline.
“There are people who don’t know, but there was even a metal ramp at Château Montebello in the 1930s. It was 70 meters in length,” says Jean Séguin.
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