Alpine skiing making a return to Quarry Road Trails in Waterville
WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - Friday’s fresh powder is great for outdoor winter sports enthusiasts.
It will also help with the reopening of a historic downhill ski area in Waterville.
Friends of Quarry Road and Waterville Parks and Recreation are teaming up to develop a safe and affordable downhill ski experience.
“The community was really poorer without, so to be able to bring this back and rebuild that culture of skiing in Waterville is really gratifying,” said Dave MacLeay, Venue Coordinator for Quarry Road Trails.
The first ski-lift at present-day Quarry Road Trails in Waterville debuted to the public in January 1938.
It was later known as the Colby Ski Area. In its prime, the area featured T-bar lights for night skiing, snowmaking, and more.
Unfortunately, downhill ski operations were suspended during the 1970s energy crisis.
50 years later, the area boasts miles of cross-country trails. It’s also known throughout the region for snowmaking, grooming, races, and events.
The non-profit, Friends of Quarry Road, with the help of Waterville Parks and Rec and the City of Waterville, have teamed up to develop a fun and affordable downhill ski experience.
“We’ve had the Nordic here for going on 13 or 14 years,” said Matt Skehan, Waterville’s Public Works Director. “This is just another option for folks, so it’ll be both skiing and snowboarding. I think the snowboarding appeal is very big, and we’ll see just as many snowboarders as skiers.”
Volunteers are planning for a full reopening of this historic downhill ski area including a permanent lodge, and an outdoor center, as well as other improvements. When it’s all said and done, this area will become a year-long hub for cross country skiing and downhill skiing, among other winter activities.
“This is really meant to be a sample, to begin to bring back lift service, alpine skiing to Waterville,” said Joseph Reisert of Friends of Quarry Road.
“It’ll be a nice little learn-to-ski area and train park. It’ll be a nice local spot for Waterville kids and others to come and learn to ski,” said MacLeay.
The first order of business for the two groups was to install a portable rope tow on the hill.
It will be put in place in an area used for sledding in recent years.
In the first year, the goal is to make snow, install a small terrain park, and offer a learn-to-ski-program.
The tow will run weekends from nine to three, starting at the end of January through February vacation.
Ticket prices will be $10 per person for a day pass, and $50 for a season pass.
“We’re not going to compete with Sunday River and Sugarloaf, but we want to inspire outdoor recreation. We want to make it handy so people don’t have to drive hours to get there. We want to make it affordable,” said Skehan.
Tickets and passes will be available at the Quarry Road Trails Welcome Center and online.
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