WATERVILLE — Volunteers on Tuesday were swarming over the Quarry Road Recreation Area setting up the annual Winter Carnival, including forming into an intricate tree maze hundreds of recycled Christmas trees picked up off the curb by Waterville Public Works Department.

For the fifth year in a row, the community is being invited to the area’s annual one-day event that features not only Nordic skiing, but also events from snowshoeing and toboggan rides to snow sculptures for the annual winter carnival.

The 200-acre outdoor area is known for its 6 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and gets a lot of attention for hosting Nordic ski races, but city officials hope the event introduces people to its other features open to the public, such as the toboggan hill and the network of snowshoe trails.

The carnival is a good chance to introduce the area to people who might not know they can use the area for hiking, walking, sledding and other activities without paying for a day ticket or season pass, said Matt Skehan, director of the Waterville Department of Parks and Recreation. Cross-country ski trails at the area require a day ticket or season pass, but the snowshoe trails and toboggan hill are always free and open to the public.

“The impression that people have that it is just a Nordic ski area. We want to show them that it is open to the public, and most things out there don’t cost a nickel,” Skehan said.

He said they expect about 1,000 people to attend Saturday’s carnival, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the recreation welcome area at 300 Quarry Road. Admission is free.


Carnival activities include building snow sculptures; guided ski, snowshoe and walking tours of the trails; a bonfire; dog sled rides; winter biking; a tree maze; sledding and food.

The Central Maine Ski Club will have a trailer with at least 80 pairs of skis, poles and boots for those who want to try Nordic skiing and will offer free lessons.

There will also be fat-tire bicycles available for people who want to try their hand at winter biking, and three-dog sled teams that will be offering rides for a suggested donation of $5 per person. Soups, stews and chowders will be available for a $1 suggested donation.

The snow sculpture event will be amped up this year, and a ice sculptor will be on hand with snow blocks, tools and advice, Skehan said.

Quarry Road Recreation Area has grown since a group of volunteers started a plan to revive the area in 2007. It now boasts a trail network and snow making equipment and hosts college and regional cross-country ski competitions. The area is open four seasons and is a popular place for people to hike, walk, run and bicycle.

The area is owned by the city and managed by the Parks and Recreation Department with help from volunteers from the nonprofit group Friends of Quarry Road, which also leads fundraising efforts for the area.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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