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A sky terrace is planned at the proposed Fairfax Peak site in Lorton (via Fairfax County)

The climb continues for Fairfax Peak, a long-anticipated project to bring one of the largest indoor ski facilities in the world to Fairfax County.

The county is considering partnering with Alpine-X, a Tysons-based company, to lease land at the county-owned I-95 landfill (9850 Furnace Road) in Lorton for the public-private project.

Alpine-X CEO John Emery said work on the project is ongoing, and the company plans to file an application to rezone the site this year.

“At this time, we continue to make progress on the design of the facility and are coordinating with the county on the timing for filing,” Emery told FFXnow in a statement.

In 2018, Alpine-X submitted the proposal to build a 450,000-square-foot snow sports facility with a planned 1,700-foot ski slope. The facility could include:

  • Multiple ski slopes at a 20-degree angle
  • An area for skiing and snowboarding with ramps, jumps, and rails
  • A bunny slope for beginners
  • A luxury hotel
  • A gravity-powered, mountain coaster that will slide from the summit to Occoquan Regional Park
  • A gondola to ferry riders from the park to the facility’s base

Other features could include a water park, a gravity ropes course, and recreation areas. SnowWorld, a partner of Alpine-X, has signed an agreement with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to possibly operate or own some of the planned facilities.

The county would lease the land to Alpine-X, allowing the company to build, own and operate its own facility.

A spokesperson for the county said negotiations with the company are ongoing.

The project is contingent on several factors, including land use entitlements, state regulatory requirements, and other considerations. In October of last year, the county’s Board of Supervisors voted to extend the negotiation period on the project until December 2023.

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Kids play soccer on a synthetic turf (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

Fairfax County is exploring how private partnerships could bring more sports facilities to the area, but the five-year journey has now been slightly prolonged by an additional step.

The Board of Supervisors passed a measure on Tuesday (May 24) directing Fairfax County Park Authority and Neighborhood and Community Services staff to address racial and social equity issues when evaluating potential projects with input from Chief Equity Officer Karla Bruce and her team.

The additional review follows a consultant report released in August 2020 that identified possible Park Authority sites where private businesses could create sports facilities, such as a complex for 16 “rectangular fields” illustrated as soccer fields, another area for 10 baseball fields, an indoor track facility, a natatorium, and more.

The consultants’ report came through the Sports Tourism Task Force that the county created in 2017. One of the group’s several subcommittees involved Alpine-X representatives seeking to build the Fairfax Peak indoor winter slope facility at a landfill in Lorton.

On Tuesday, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, who chaired the task force, asked the board to direct the county executive to call for developers to submit public-private partnership proposals as identified in the report.

“Sports tourism facilities are rapidly developing around the East Coast and throughout Virginia,” he said during the meeting. “Vying to meet the demand of this incredibly recession-proof industry, we need to take advantage of our desirable location and extensive sports community by developing the identified sports tourism facilities.”

However, Chairman Jeff McKay modified that motion, clashing with Herrity on how to move forward. McKay said that some areas of the county largely lack these sports sites.

“We have teams, youth leagues throughout this county, that can’t find space today,” McKay said. “Before we…move forward with advancing larger complexes that might be out of reach for some of them, let’s make sure we understand where…inadequacies exist.”

McKay requested that the county create an equity impact assessment on the sports tourism report by the end of 2022.

The board approved consideration of that alternative 9-1, with Herrity dissenting. With Herrity’s original motion dislodged, the board approved the amended board matter 9-0 for a final vote in which Herrity abstained.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority

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