WATERVILLE — Despite recent coatings of sleet and rain, a long-standing winter tradition on Quarry Road is still scheduled to be held this Saturday.

Now entering its sixth year, the annual Quarry Road Community Ski and Winter Fun Day — formerly known as the Winter Carnival — will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gates at the 220-acre city-owned park open at 8 a.m., and the welcome center will stay open until 4 p.m. The free festival of events is aimed at getting people outside during midwinter.

In years’ past, the event included events such as dog sledding and offered food from local restaurants, but activities this year will be scaled back. This year, activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, a snowball toss and a snow sculpture lesson.

Matt Skehan, director of the Waterville Department of Parks and Recreation, said past winter carnivals became too busy for the infrastructure of the area, so organizers decided to change the format. He also said events such as dog sledding were not events that are offered regularly at Quarry Road, so organizers wanted to make the event more representative to the public and especially first-time visitors.

He said the goal of the event is to get more people exposed to the area, answer any questions visitors have and offer fun activities for people to try, as well as show what traditionally is offered during the winter.

“It’s not to say we wouldn’t like to offer some of those activities again,” Skehan said of dog sledding and food vendors, “but it wasn’t really what we wanted to show people.”

The recent sleet storm could have put a damper on the events, but Skehan said the trails are still in good shape, and the sledding hill will have just enough snow left on it. He said they were “obviously disappointed” with the recent weather, but the trail loops still had plenty of snow of them, and he said the staff would groom the trails ahead of the event.

Last year, man-made snow allowed the event to go on as usual. In prior years, uncooperative weather simply would mean the annual festival wouldn’t happen. Skehan said he could remember only one time when they had to cancel the event outright — in January 2013 — because of unseasonably warm temperature and rain.

But for this year, “we’re in good shape,” he said.

Admission to the event at 300 Quarry Road is free, and skiing is also free all day. Skehan said there is a fee for ski rentals if people don’t bring their own. In past years hundreds of visitors have come to the festivities, but Skehan said it’s hard to predict turnout on Saturday.

“We’re hoping it will get people out to check out the trails for the first time,” Skehan said.

Quarry Road Recreation Area is a year-round park and trail system that has grown since a small group of volunteers started efforts there in 2007. It is owned by the city of Waterville. Skehan said the area has about 8 miles of trails in total, used for cross-country and Nordic skiing as well as snowshoeing. The area, at the end of Quarry Road off North Street, is managed by the Parks and Recreation Department with help from volunteers from the nonprofit group Friends of Quarry Road.

The site once was used as Colby College’s alpine ski slope. Saturday’s event is one of three free community skiing events at Quarry Road. A learn-to-ski day was held Dec. 18, and an upcoming event for skiing, snowshoeing and biking is scheduled for Feb. 19.

“We’ve got some really cool snowshoe trails that were cut as mountain bike trails in the summer,” he said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

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Twitter: @colinoellis