Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
If you ask the average person to name the face of skiing in America, Olympian and World Cup veteran Bode Miller is bound to be near the top of the list. After all, with a racing resume as long as his, including six Olympic medals at five different Winter Games and two overall World Cup titles, he’s stood atop a podium or two.
Retired from skiing since 2017, Miller has partnered with several start-ups, lending his unique perspective to companies developing everything from outerwear and apparel to skis and wearable technology. Miller’s newest endeavor is going in an entirely new direction, aiming to bring the sport he loves to more people. Since people can’t always get to the mountain, he wants to bring the mountains to the people.
Miller, along with the consulting and professional services company he co-founded, M Bar W Enterprises, is teaming up with snow-dome builders Alpine-X to make the latter’s 20-some planned ski domes the vehicle to introduce skiing to more people.
“Alpine-X will be a leader in welcoming many new people into the sport that has meant so much to me and millions of others,” Miller said in a press release when the partnership was announced on Dec. 8, 2021. “I’m excited to join with their management team to execute Alpine-X’s vision for indoor snowsports resorts for the entire community.”
Virginia-based Alpine-X is close to breaking ground on its first ski dome, Fairfax Peak, which will be located in the Washington DC suburbs and is scheduled to start spinning lifts in 2025. The 400,000-square-foot snow dome will anchor the country’s second indoor ski dome. (Big Snow American Dream, in New Jersey, is the first; it opened in late 2019.) It’s scheduled to break ground a year from now, and will also feature a 200-room hotel, restaurants, a mountain coaster, tubing hill, zip lines, and a snow-play attraction.
The company is already in the planning stages for a second ski dome, and eventually plans to debut over 20, all in proximity to cities with diverse populations and economic means. One important hingepoint of the operation is its “Snow Play for All” program, which will include a minimum of 1,000 no-costs visits for community members at each location every year.
“Alpine-X offers an opportunity to address years of limited growth in overall ski and snowboard participation in the U.S.,” says John Emery, Alpine-X CEO. “By providing convenient, affordable, and accessible indoor facilities, we can greatly increase the ability of millions of people to experience snowsports.”
The company will also roll out a free membership program, the Alpine-X Club, designed to forge a community of enthusiasts with incentive and rewards, and a new stock offering to the general public so investors can own a small piece of the company for less than a day of skiing.
Miller and his M Bar W co-founder, longtime ski industry executive Andy Wirth, will join Alpine-X as Chief Innovation Officer and Strategic Advisor, respectively. The hope is to help support Alpine-X’s goal of reaching more people through accessible, comfortable, and year-round exposure to skiing. It’s a compelling model, and one that we’ll be watching closely over the next several years as the ski domes start rolling out. At the end of the day, anything that elevates the sport of skiing and lures more people to the slopes—and type of slopes—is a mission we can get behind.
“Alpine-X is advancing a creative, visionary, and inclusive approach to indoor snowsports,” Miller said, “and I’m proud to have the opportunity to work with this world-class team.”