The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the next phase of transforming the closed I-95 landfill in Lorton into the longest indoor ski slope in North America and one of the longest in the world.
Alpine-X submitted a public-private partnership proposal to the county in 2018 to build a 450,000- square-foot snow sports facility with an expected 1,700-foot ski slope.The facility’s summit would reach an altitude of about 280 feet and has been dubbed “Fairfax Peak."
Supervisors approved interim agreement permitting the developer to continue feasibility studies on a public-private partnership in which Alpine-X will lease the county-owned landfill to build the project, which is estimated to bring about 1,300 jobs and closing to $1 million in tax revenue to southern Fairfax.
“Fairfax Peak offers incredible benefits for our residents in addition to the amazing facilities – from new job opportunities and tax revenue, to new snow sport opportunities including high school ski teams and premier national competitions, to new hotel and restaurant amenities for the South County area,” Springfield district Supervisor Pat Herrity said in a statement. "As we look to emerge from the pandemic and its economic repercussions, Fairfax Peak will bring some much-needed relief and opportunity to our residents.”
While the company considered several other locations in the D.C. region, the landfill was its top choice, according to the proposal.
According to Alpine-X, the 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, capable 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 gondola to ferry riders from Occoquan Regional Park and the facility’s base to the summit.Fairfax Peak sky terrace.
The project envisions other amenities that could be added in the future, including a water park, a "gravity ropes course" and passive recreation areas. SnowWorld has signed a confidential agreement with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to possibly operate or own some of these facilities.
Before Alpine-X submitted its proposal, Visit Fairfax estimated the project’s economic impact as part of the county’s Sports Tourism report. They projected that the complex could draw as many as 400,000 visitors per year, generating sales, hotel and property taxes for the county.
Besides strengthening Laurel Hill as a recreational destination, Fairfax Peak would allow local schools to add ski teams. Alpine-X proposes making its facility available to law enforcement and military for cold-weather and snow training.
The project would be environmentally sustainable as well, Fairfax County said in a news release.
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 facility also will open its doors to local colleges and universities that wish to test new environmental technologies.
There is no timeline yet, but last year, county officials said the project first phase could be complete within 36 to 48 months after approval.