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A vision that began snowballing with two Fairfax County residents — Niels ten Berge of Vienna and Jeff Hokenson of McLean — is closer to becoming a reality.

Based in McLean, their company Alpine-X is behind the Fairfax Peak indoor winter slope facility that will turn a landfill by I-95 in Lorton into what Fairfax County hopes will be a prime tourist destination for skiing, snowboarding, and more.

Hokenson says the idea for Alpine-X came from ten Berge, who was inspired by his experience with indoor snow sports venues in Europe.

“Niels had a simple but powerful premise: These venues are popular in many parts of the world — why shouldn’t they also be successful here in the U.S.?” Hokenson said by email. “Also, there’s a vibrant skiing, snowboarding and active-lifestyle culture here in the Washington, D.C. area, so this market seemed like a logical place for the first project.”

With Fairfax Peak as the flagship site, Alpine-X announced on May 25 that it hopes to bring more than 20 facilities to North America. Previously, the company stated that it envisioned 10 destinations in America.

The company told Tysons Reporter that the new number includes locations in the U.S. and Canada.

For Fairfax Peak, Alpine-X has proposed leasing land from the county, which would still keep parts of the landfill in operation.

Plans presented to the county called for several other elements, including an alpine coaster and a wave pool with surfing possibilities that could come with a second phase of the project. The indoor slope would have an approximately 20-degree angle.

“The proposed Snow Sports facility is expected to be approximately 450,000 sq. ft., with multiple slopes, the longest of which should be 1,700 ft. in length,” the company said in its proposal. “Additionally, the facility will have a terrain/fun park, snow tubing runs, a ‘bunny slope’ for new skiers, or for training, a ski shop, multiple restaurants and bars, a sky-bar and event space, an outdoor courtyard…and more.”

Alpine-X is the developer of the recreational project and has partnered with SnowWorld International B.V., a consulting subsidiary of SnowWorld N.V., which has indoor snow resorts in the Netherlands and has worked on other projects across the globe.

Alpine-X has a 50% ownership stake in SnowWorld USA, which will be the owner and operator of the snow sports facility and other elements, such as a 100-plus-room hotel.

Fairfax County supervisors approved an interim agreement for the project in November, extending a previous approval. It allows the company to explore the potential of the site and continue negotiations with the county. The interim agreement lasts until Dec. 31, 2021 and could be extended for another year.

The company initially suggested a 99-year lease with a potential buyout option for the property. The county’s public affairs office said it’s county policy to not comment on ongoing negotiations.

Proposed pricing for Fairfax Peak is not yet available, but the facility is expected to be more cost-effective than traditional slopes that have seasonal windows.

“The Alpine-X experience aims to complement established ski resorts — not compete — as we will have the opportunity to introduce new demographics to snowsports at large, ideally inspiring passion and potential interest in hitting the outdoor mountains down the road,” Hokenson said, noting that the company plans to partner with established winter resorts nationwide.

The new facility could also be a boon for local businesses like Alpine Ski Shop, which has a store at 9629 Fairfax Boulevard in Fairfax as well as a location in Sterling (21999 Shaw Rd.).

“We love the prospect of introducing the sport of skiing and snowboarding in a fun, controlled environment and bringing it to a wider audience,” owner Chris Bunch said in an email. “The proximity is an added bonus!”

Bunch also said the slope will “provide experienced skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to get a quick ride in during the work day or head over and ‘run laps’ to keep the legs in shape.”

Alpine-X believes Fairfax Peak could be in operation in late 2024 or early 2025.

Photo courtesy Alpine-X

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The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory at 8:43 a.m. today for much of the D.C. area, including Fairfax County.

Precipitation started falling early this morning and could result in up to an inch of snow accumulation. The alert will remain in effect until 3 p.m.

Here is the full alert:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM EST THIS AFTERNOON…

* WHAT…Rapid onset of snow which will result in snow covered roadways. Snow accumulations of up to one inch.

* WHERE…Portions of central and northern Maryland and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…Until 3 PM EST this afternoon.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning or evening commute.

“Slow down and use caution while traveling,” the NWS said. “When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.”

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

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Friday Morning Notes

Pavement Could Be Icy After Overnight Refreeze — “If you are heading out this morning, watch for the potential of black ice. Temperatures are currently below freezing so sidewalks can be slippery especially if left untreated. Remember that bridges, ramps, & overpasses freeze first.” [Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management/Twitter]

Winter Weather Delays COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments — “The Virginia Department of Health anticipates the delay impacts this week’s shipment of approximately 106,800 doses to Virginia. The delay is attributed to distribution channels that are shut down in the Midwest and elsewhere.” [Patch]

Residential Trash Pickups Suspended — “Due to inclement weather, RESIDENTIAL TRASH COLLECTION HAS BEEN SUSPENDED TODAY.” [Fairfax County Public Works/Twitter]

Fairfax County Schools Are All-Virtual Today — All Fairfax County Public Schools students are learning virtually today as inclement weather continues. Activities on school grounds, including extracurricular activities and adult and community education classes, have been canceled for the day, and access to school facilities is limited. [FCPS]

Fairfax County Awarded Federal Funds for Homeless Assistance Programs — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Fairfax County $9.5 million to support 20 ongoing projects, a 3% increase from the previous year. The funding will go to permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing projects, while helping providers pay for leasing and rent costs as well as services. [Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development]

Falls Church City School Renaming Process Begins — “The first organizing meetings, held through Zoom, one for the renaming of the high school and one for the renaming of the elementary school, were held last week as the two advisory committees to the F.C. School Board, each made up of about 20 citizen volunteers (out of a whopping total of 77 applicants), convened.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Tech Company Acquires Maryland Cybersecurity FirmApplied Insight announced on Wednesday (Feb. 17) that it has acquired the Maryland-based company Bridges Inc., allowing it to complement its services with artificial intelligence and “deliver end-to-end cloud infrastructure and data analytics in a way that is unique to the industry.” [Applied Insight]

Photo via FCCPS Office of Facilities Services/Twitter

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All Town of Vienna government offices and facilities will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) as the D.C. region braces for a winter storm that could deliver up to six inches of snow and a quarter inch of ice.

The town-wide closure extends to the Vienna Community Center, and all parks and recreation classes and programs have been canceled, along with Thursday trash pick-up services.

A Board of Architectural Review meeting that was scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow has been postponed.

“This decision was necessary to ensure the safety of Town employees and because it is anticipated that all staff hands will be needed for snow removal,” the Town said in a statement.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area starting at 3 a.m. tomorrow and lasting until 6 a.m. Friday.

Residents are being advised not to travel, and Dominion Energy says it is preparing for potential multiple-day power outages throughout the state, including in Northern Virginia.

Metro will operate buses on a moderate snow service plan, while maintaining regular weekday rail operations, though de-icer trains and heaters will be utilized.

Fairfax Connector will offer full service tomorrow, but some routes will be detoured and could be further modified or suspended based on road conditions. A full list of missed stops can be found on the transit service’s website.

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The D.C. metropolitan area, including Fairfax County, could get up to six inches of snow in a storm expected to arrive early tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The region is now under a Winter Storm Warning, a step up from the Winter Storm Watch that the National Weather Service issued yesterday afternoon.

Issued at 10:24 a.m., the warning will take effect at 3 a.m. on Thursday and stay in place until 6 a.m. Friday. The NWS says there will be heavy snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain, forecasting three to six inches of snow and one-tenth to one-quarter inch of ice accumulation.

More details from the alert are below:

* WHEN…From 3 AM Thursday to 6 AM EST Friday. Snow will begin between 3 and 5 AM. Snow will change to a mixture of sleet and freezing rain during the late morning and early afternoon hours.

* IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Snow Thursday morning will be heavy at times with snowfall rates around 1 to 2 inches per hour possible along with visibility reduced to around one-quarter mile at time.

Warning that the storm is expected to have “significant road impacts,” the Virginia Department of Transportation is advising residents to prepare to stay home and avoid nonessential travel tomorrow and on Friday.

VDOT says its crews are finishing pretreatment of about 2,000 lane miles of interstates and primary roads in Northern Virginia. About 3,000 pieces of equipment will be ready tonight to treat roads, and plowing will start once two inches of snow have accumulated.

“Additional equipment and crews are on standby to report, including to handle downed trees or limbs from ice,” VDOT said in a news release.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department suggests testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they work, charging cell phones and tablets, and using a flashlight or other battery-powered device if power goes out.

With communities elsewhere in the U.S. struggling to stay warm in frigid temperatures due to power outages, one Tysons resident is offering free firewood to anyone who needs it in the Tysons and Vienna area in advance of the coming winter storm.

“We had many trees taken down, and my husband took up chopping wood as a COVID project,” Rhea Baker told Tysons Reporter. “We personally do not have a working fireplace, so I have much more than I can use in my backyard fire pit.”

Baker, who works as an insurance agent with State Farm, says she also has ice scrapers that she is able to give away.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott, photo courtesy Rhea Baker

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More snow is expected later this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of the region from late Wednesday night through late Thursday night.

Snow accumulations of five or more inches and total ice accumulations of more are possible.

More from the alert is below.

IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

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The weekend is nearly here, and in February 2021, that apparently means that Fairfax County is once again expected to get hit with a blast of frigid, even icy weather.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for the D.C. region shortly after 6 p.m. last night. The alert will take effect tomorrow (Saturday) morning and last until 7 a.m. on Sunday (Feb. 14).

Here are more details from the alert:

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING…

* WHAT…HEAVY ICING POSSIBLE. TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO ONE INCH AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE QUARTER OF AN INCH POSSIBLE.

* WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS…POWER OUTAGES AND TREE DAMAGE ARE POSSIBLE DUE TO THE ICE. TRAVEL COULD BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE.

A second message released today (Friday) at 8:36 a.m. reiterates that the watch is in effect from Saturday to Sunday morning and that there is “potential” for a quarter inch of ice or more to accumulate. However, it does not mention possible snow accumulation.

The NWS advises travelers to plan on slippery road conditions.

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Prepare for more snow in the region later tonight and into tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of the region. The advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. today through 10 a.m. tomorrow.

NWS expects snow accumulations of between one to three inches. More from the alert is below.

IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Slow down and use caution while traveling.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Monday Morning Notes

Unofficial Snowfall Totals from Sunday — In Fairfax County, snow accumulation from yesterday’s winter storm ranged from 0.8 inches in Langley to 2.9 inches in Herndon. 2.3 inches were recorded around Wolf Trap, and one inch at Dunn Loring and Falls Church, according to unofficial observations. [National Weather Service]

Fall into Ravine Injures Person in McLean — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to the 9000 block of Old Dominion Drive around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 6) when a person fell 12 feet into a ravine. The individual was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [FCFRD/Twitter]

Falls Church CVS to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine — “The News-Press has confirmed that the CVS Pharmacy at 134 W. Broad Street in downtown Falls Church will function as a distribution site for the Covid-19 vaccine effort.” CVS announced last week that vaccinations will roll out to stores in 11 states, including Virginia, starting this Thursday (Feb. 11). [Falls Church News-Press, CVS Health]

Fairfax County Imagines Tysons “Green Artery” — County officials have envisioned building a pedestrian/bicycle path and adding greenery, public art, and other amenities under the Metro Silver Line tracks through Tysons to make those spaces look more attractive. [Greater Greater Washington]

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The National Weather Service downgraded Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area from a Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Weather Advisory this morning.

As of 11:03 a.m., the NWS predicted that there could be up to an inch of additional snow accumulation by noon, resulting in one to three inches of total accumulation from today’s storm.

Here is more from the most recent alert:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EST
TODAY…

* WHAT…Snow. Additional snow accumulations of up to one inch. Storm total snow of 1 to 3 inches.

* WHERE…Portions of The District of Columbia, central, northern and southern Maryland and central and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…Until noon EST today.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Slow down and use caution while traveling.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

Though the snow is expected to turn into rain this afternoon, the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management advises shoveling snow from driveways and sidewalks to prevent it from refreezing when temperatures drop tonight.

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