Swishing down “Fairfax Peak” could be a reality in the not too distant future if a proposal to turn Fairfax County’s landfill in Lorton into the “longest indoor ski slope in North America” comes to fruition.
A company called “Alpine-X” submitted a public-private partnership proposal to Fairfax County to build a 450,000-square-foot snow sports facility, according to a county news release issued Wednesday.
County staff will now begin the process of formally evaluating the proposal, which will include seeking competing bids for the site, the press release said.
The process will include opportunities for community input, including public hearings. The plan would ultimately have to be approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the press release said.
The I-95 Landfill Complex is located at 9580 Furnace Road, about three miles north of the Prince William County line.
As proposed, the indoor ski facility’s summit would reach an altitude of about 280 feet and would feature a 1,700-foot ski slope, the press release said.
Alpine-X, a Virginia-based company that launched in 2016, was said to be considering several other locations in the D.C. region, but the Lorton landfill is its top choice, the press release said.
Called “Fairfax Peak,” the proposed snow sports complex may include:
- Multiple ski slopes at approximately a 20-degree angle, including a slope compliant with the Fédération Internationale de Ski’s standards, ensuring it can be used for competitions.
- A specially designed area for skiing and snowboarding with a variety of ramps, jumps, rails, boxes and other features, suitable for use in national snowboarding and freestyle skiing competitions.
- A bunny slope for beginners, snow tubing run and area for skiers and snowboarders to perform tricks.
- Restaurants, ski shop and sky bar and terrace at the summit.
- A 100-plus room “luxury hotel” at the base of the indoor snow facility.
- A gravity-powered, mountain coaster that will slide from the summit to Occoquan Regional Park.
- A gondala to ferry riders from Occoquan Regional Park and the facility’s base to the summit.
The proposal also envisions other amenities that could be added in the future, including a water park, a “gravity ropes course” and passive recreation areas, the press release said.
The county would lease its land to Alpine-X, and the company would build, own and operate its facility. This lease would be negotiated separately if the proposal is ultimately accepted, the press release said.
Promoters also note Fairfax Peak would allow local high schools to add ski teams and would be available to law enforcement and military for cold-weather and snow training, the press release said.
Fairfax County leaders say that Fairfax Peak could produce significant economic and recreational benefits.
“When Alpine-X came to me in 2016 with a proposal to build an indoor ski facility in Lorton, I knew this could be a great opportunity for the county and the region,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck(D) said in the press release. “I encouraged the Alpine-X team and county leadership to work together with our office to determine the viability of this project and the possibility of repurposing a closed landfill.”
The complex would be expected to contribute to the development of southern Fairfax County’s Laurel Hill “as a regional recreation hub and arts destination. Other amenities in the area include an equestrian center, Laurel Hill Golf Course and Workhouse Arts Center, the press release said.
“The efforts we are leading with the Lorton 2040 Visioning and revitalization of Richmond Highway, combined with entrepreneurial partners like Alpine-X, will culminate in Lorton becoming a 21st century destination for sports, arts, entertainment and skilled fun," Storck added.
“Visit Fairfax,” the county’s tourism arm, estimates the project’s economic impact as part of the county’s sports tourism report. They project that the complex could draw as many as 400,000 visitors per year, generating sales, hotel and property taxes for the county, the press release said.
Fairfax Peak plans to incorporate “green and energy-efficient technologies in its buildings. For example, the company says it will collaborate with Covanta’s private waste-to-energy plant to capture and re-use steam; reuse gray water and use solar energy,” the press release said. “The facility also will open its doors to local colleges and universities that wish to test new environmental technologies.”
County officials say they will evaluate the proposal to determine if there are any impacts to future solar projects at the I-95 landfill complex. There is an ongoing study to look at the relationship between the two projects.
If Alpine-X’s proposal is accepted, the company projects that it could complete the project’s first phase in 36 to 48 months, the press release said.