LYNCHBURG, VA July 21, 2008 A portion of Liberty Universityâ€™s 5,000-acre mountain range will be receiving a monumental makeover in the coming months with the construction of a year-round ski slope known as the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center. Upon completion, the artificial snow sports incline will be the first in the U.S. surfaced with SnowflexÂ®, a synthetic material designed to simulate snow. The Discovery Channel is documenting this historic event and will air several phases of the construction on a future episode of Daily Planet.
Invented in 1993 by Brian Thomas of Briton Engineering, Snowflex originated in the UK and has been installed in several facilities throughout Europe. This innovative technology features small, built-in misting devices that lubricate the slopeâ€™s surface, recreating the slip and grip of real snow.
The idea of building a snow-free ski slope on Liberty Mountain began three years ago when the university hired Alpentech Inc., a Salt Lake City, Utah consulting firm, to investigate several ways LU could use its mountain property to meet Libertyâ€™s academic, financial and recruiting goals. In addition to giving students more recreational, physical education and
fitness opportunities on campus, the slope will help establish skiing and/or snowboarding as LU club sports.
â€œWhen the LaHaye family donated the ice rink and student recreation center at LU, Mrs. [Beverly] LaHaye stated that her goal was to give prospective students as many reasons as possible to choose LU over secular institutions,â€ stated Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. â€œThe slope has the same purpose.â€
Falwell added: â€œLiberty University is also attempting to reconnect with its alumni. Our plan is to bring alumni and their families back to Lynchburg for weekend visits so they can become reacquainted with the university. The ski slope will provide a unique form of entertainment for these families and help us attract more of them to Liberty for weekend visits.â€Â The Snowflex Center is just one element of a multi-faceted expansion of Liberty Universityâ€™s extracurricular and student activities divisions. One hundred percent of the slopeâ€™s cost is being funded by a charitable donation to the university. While the future slope will be available to the public, students will receive priority in both pricing and usage.
The Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center will consist of a main ski slope and a beginner slope for ski and snowboard instruction, totaling about 40,537 square feet of skiable area. Jumps and additional features on the main slope include a tabletop, a big kicker, an 11-foot high
quarter pipe, two grind rails and an extreme tube chute. Those who prefer tubing may do so at designated times.
A ski lodge will also be installed, permitting parties and other special events. Construction is slated to begin late August or early Sethe start of the new year, 2009.
For more information about LUâ€™s future ski slope, please visit http://www.liberty.edu/snowflex