PORTLAND — Representatives of the city and Ski Maine stood next to a patch of fresh snow at Payson Park Wednesday morning to announce a new winter sports program for kids.

“Wednesdays in the Park” starts next month at the park’s sliding hill and terrain park next to Ocean Avenue. It will feature weekly giveaways and ski and snowboard professionals from Maine ski resorts,  who will give tips to youth learning the sports. The program will start in January and be held Wednesday afternoons  from 1 to 3:30, coinciding with early release days from city schools.

The city began laying a base of powder Wednesday using donated snowmaking equipment and fire hoses. The snowmaking effort is sponsored by Ski Maine Association, Quirk Chevrolet and Sweetser’s Apple Barrel and Orchard.

The city and its partners also unveiled new improvements at the terrain park, including stunt rails donated by Saddleback and Sunday River ski resorts and a large new mound made from surplus fill that raises the elevation of the ski and snowboard area.

The free, municipal terrain park is believed to be one of three in the country, and was first created in 2007.