Central Ontario, where I’m from, is not short on nature’s bounty. Due north of the Toronto suburb where I grew up there are hundreds of rivers, lakes, and forests. One thing that the region is lacking in, however, is vertical. The number of ski resorts within a reasonable driving distance of my childhood home (average 2 to 6 hrs), can be counted on one hand, and even then snowsports are not accessible to most working-class suburban families like the one that I grew up in. I didn’t take up my passion for snowboarding until I moved to Quebec in my twenties, and that was only because I was fortunate to fall into a group of like-minded friends who had been snowboarding in the region since childhood.
What I would have given as an adrenaline-seeking suburban youngster to have a playground at my front door like what Alpine-X is building. It is this vision – making snowsports accessible, affordable, and inclusive – that inspired Alpine-X’s inception, and is driving the business forward. The company is centered around the concept of “creating enduring positive memories while strengthening community bonds to allow families and groups to share different experiences together.” Now backed by Bode Miller and Andy Wirth’s M BAR W Enterprises LCC, with Miller joining the management team as Chief Innovation Officer, Alpine-X is on schedule to break ground for their flagship location in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Fairfax County, Virginia, with two more Alpine-X resorts planned for Texas as the next stage in a rollout across North America.
Alpine-X at Fairfax Peak
In the spirit of sustainability, the planned building site for Alpine-X’s flagship location is a converted segment of the Fairfax County Recycling and Disposal Center next to Interstate 95. The snowdome will be designed to utilize the slope of the landfill as an innovative way to repurpose the property. The company is aiming for carbon neutrality for its snowdome and planning lots of solar with the intention of being an example of how a large building doesn’t need to have a big carbon footprint. The planned 450,000-square-foot facility will include a 1,700-foot indoor ski slope, designated areas for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, a terrain park with rails and jumps, and a learning area separated from the lifts to take the intimidation out of learning a challenging sport. Visitors who don’t want to ski or snowboard will have access to a community center with an indoor adventure area, multiple food and beverage options, outdoor entertainment features, stores, trails, and open spaces. Fairfax County estimates that the complex, which will open its doors 16 hrs a day, 365 days, and has garnered considerable local community support since its initial proposal in 2018, could draw more than 700,000 visitors per year.
Accessibility & Inclusivity
As the first North American company to build a full-mountain experience, indoors, Alpine-X has plans to open 20 resorts across the United States in the coming years. Included in this planning is a focus on major metropolitan areas, places with people who want to experience snowsports, but haven’t had a convenient or affordable way to do that. They see their role as complementary to the outdoor experience, and traditional resorts in the northern Virginia region are, in a word, stoked. The hope is that it will hook more skiers and riders who can get acclimated to the sport before venturing out to natural peaks. Alpine-X CEO John Emery has said that the domes are aiming to attract not only seasoned skiers and riders but leverage their metropolitan locations to attract new demographics to snowsports. What they are building is made for everyone in the community, evident in the company’s recently debuted “Snow Play for All” program which will guarantee a minimum of 1,000 no-cost visits to each Alpine-X ski dome each year, and partner with local and national programs in the nearest metropolitan areas to offer children, individuals, and families who have traditionally been underrepresented in the snowsports industry the chance to visit for free, with complimentary rentals, lessons, and meals.
Become a Member of the Alpine-X Community
Alpine-X offers a free membership program through their website with perks including a welcome kit, invitations to special events, discounts on lift tickets, equipment, and select merchandise, and giveaways and chances to win lift tickets and gear. They also have a stock offering to the general public on Republic.com. For less than the cost of a day of skiing or snowboarding at most outdoor resorts investors can own a piece of Alpine-X.
The future of indoor snowsports is now. Alpine-X has positioned itself as the North American leader in the industry, addressing years of limited growth in overall ski and snowboard participation in the United States by providing convenient, affordable, accessible, and inclusive facilities, based on community and sustainability, that will increase the opportunity for millions of people to experience the thrill and joy of carving, riding, and sliding on snow.
My only question to Alpine-X is “when are you coming to Canada?”