Fairfax County approves next phase for snow sports facility in former Lorton landfill

Virginia could be the site of the one of the longest indoor ski slopes in North America, as Fairfax County voted on an interim agreement to build it on a closed landfill.

The Board of Supervisors approved the agreement at a board meeting last week, which allows Alpine-X to explore building a 450,000-square-foot snow sports facility at the site of the I-95 landfill in Lorton, the Lorton Patch reported. The facility would include a 1,700-foot ski slope that would reach an altitude of 280 feet.

“What it really allows us to do is to begin all of the … engineering work on the site, to make sure it’s buildable … And so what we’re doing right now through the current agreement is doing all the engineering work that effectively, it gives us, what we need to do. So the foundation of the whole structure. And then from there, we go to a final agreement rezoning and actual construction,” Alpine-X partner John Emery said.

When this step is completed, it moves into actual design and construction, and Emery is confident that the “project is clearly going to happen.”

He believes the construction is 18 to 24 months from breaking ground, and construction will take about the same time.

“So right now, you’re looking at about 2024,” Emery said.

As a public-private partnership, Fairfax County would lease the land to Alpine-X, and the company would build, own and operate the facility, according to a county news release.

Fairfax County said the project is contingent on Alpine-X fulfilling required land use entitlements, and the process includes opportunities for community input and the Board of Supervisors’ approval.

As for building on top of a landfill, Emery said that the facility is a “great environmental use of that particular property.”

“We’re going to work with the environmental groups on protecting the meadow that will surround the property. And we think it’ll be really good, everybody’s best interest; it’s good for landfills to have this work done. Because then over time, the landfills are going to be constantly monitored. Not [that] Fairfax isn’t doing that anyway. But everything that we do, part of it will be constantly monitoring the landfill because it’s part of our resort complex, the former landfill,” Emery said.

And since the D.C. area is not a mecca for snow sports, the facility will have other activities and features that are not snow- or ski-related.

The indoor “ski dome” will have a hotel and several restaurants, and outside, there will be a “gravity roller coaster.”

“We want something for families and groups of friends to want to come out there, and not everybody is going to want to ski. So we want to have enough activities for a group to come out, they can all have the experiences they want to have together — have a bite, have a drink, and have a good time together. It’s really built around having great shared experiences, where not everybody has to do exactly the same thing. So it’ll be a lot of different activities,” Emery said.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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