Sunday, January 16 2022

Alpine-X says its plans to build a ski resort and indoor ski resort in Lorton are on track, with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to act on the next phase of the development process by October.

“We have made substantial and timely progress on the project this year,” Alpine-X partner and investor Bradley Ryan told InsideNoVa.

The McLean-based company submitted plans to Fairfax officials in late 2018 to build the indoor winter sports venue, which will be called Fairfax Peak, on a converted segment of the Fairfax County Recycling and Disposal Center off Interstate 95.

The county board of directors approved an interim deal with Alpine-X in November 2020, giving the company access to the landfill site for geotechnical testing and a traffic review. The agreement also established an exclusive period until December 31 to negotiate and finalize the lease of the site by the company.

Fairfax supervisors plan to hold a public hearing on October 19 on a proposal to extend the company’s access to the landfill site, as well as the exclusive negotiation period, until December 2023. Ryan said the company expects both measures to be approved.

Ryan said the initial date at the end of this year has been set so the county can assess the company’s progress and ensure planning is on track. “This extension is a confirmation of the progress of the project to date and gives us the opportunity to continue the development process. “

Wendy Lemieux, marketing director of the Fairfax County Economic Initiatives Department, said if Alpine-X decides to seek land use approvals for the project, additional public hearings would be required, as well as awareness and awareness raising. informal community coordination.

However, Alpine-X has already started hosting information sessions for local residents, including last Saturday during Workhouse Community Market Day at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. At the event, John Emery, CEO of Alpine-X, told InsideNoVa that the company’s vision is to create an affordable leisure destination that skiers and non-skiers can enjoy.

“Most resorts are seasonal and exclusive in the sense that they are extremely expensive and time consuming,” Emery said. “We took a different approach. We really build where everyone else lives. So, we’re going to be super affordable.

Emery said the company doesn’t have exact prices yet, but he said the plan includes designated areas for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, among other activities. Similar to outdoor ski resorts, Fairfax Peak will also have a snow park with rails and jumps.

The ski slopes range from easy to more difficult slopes, or black diamonds, he added.

“We expect our black runs to be competitive – in terms of skills – with traditional regional ski resorts,” Emery said. “Not the same as a black piste in Colorado or Utah, but similar to the quality of a black piste experience in Mid-Atlantic skiing. “

Although several areas are designated for more competitive skiers, Emery said the facility will be designed to eliminate “bullying from people who are learning.” For example, the learning area will be separate from the ski lifts.

“It’s the beauty of building something that’s open year round,” Emery added. “There will literally be experiences for the uninitiated, the skiers and snowboarders who want to develop these skills, and the people who have these skills and want to improve them. It has enough space and time throughout the year to accommodate everyone.

Visitors who don’t want to ski would have access to a community center with an indoor adventure area, multiple dining options, gravity-fed roller coasters, ziplines, shops, trails, open spaces and more, he said, although details have not been determined.

During the Workhouse event, Deborah Kiser, a resident of Fairfax Station, told Inside NoVa that she was excited about the indoor ski facility because of the positive impact it could have on the community.

“I think it’s an important point that you don’t have to be a skier to take advantage of the potential of what he can bring,” Kiser said. “And also for young people here – high school students and small children have a place to play in the snow all year round. I think this is a positive thing for the community.

Kevin Black, who lives in Gaithersburg, Md. But has another home in Lorton, said he also believes the project could be positive for the community, but worries about traffic jams on the I- 95.

“All the way between the Beltway and 95 there is a miserable traffic area,” he said. “If there is anything they can do to minimize it, I have no problem with that at this point.”

Emery said he doesn’t think residents should be overly concerned about traffic, as the resort will be open 16 hours a day and visitors will come during varying times.

“So there is no starting time for our experiments,” he added. “People come and go all day, all night, in very small increments because we don’t put too many people in the facility at once… So we really don’t generate big blocks of traffic. “

Fairfax officials in attendance on Saturday included Supervisor Dan Storck and County Manager Bryan Hill.

Storck, who represents the Mount Vernon district, noted that nothing is set in stone.

“We worked with [Alpine-X] for many years, ”he added. “They have spent many years studying and making sure that it will potentially work for them; they still have a little work to do.

Once a formal proposal for the project is submitted, said Storck, “then we will present this formal proposal to you which the community and all of us can review and consider and discuss quickly and ultimately find the balance to ensure that it is ‘is just. for our community.

If approved, the 450,000-square-foot facility would include a 1,700-foot indoor ski slope – the longest in North America. The county estimated that the complex could attract up to 400,000 visitors per year.

Emery said Alpine-X has identified three other potential indoor skiing venues across the country, but noted that there has not yet been an official announcement. Forbes reports that Alpine-X plans to open 20 of these snow sports facilities across the United States in the coming years.

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