High school Juniors make some jumps
TINA L. SCOTT
Austin Schmidt, 17-year-old son of Joel Schmidt and Jill Schmidt of Merrill, was out on the ice practicing his jumps on Lake Alexander on Sunday. Schmidt said he has been driving a snowmobile since around age 12 or 14. “I got started riding snowmobiles riding with my dad and riding in the woods,” he said. Sunday he was catching some air with his red Skidoo Formula 500. Schmidt is a Junior at Merrill High School (MHS).
Also a Junior at MHS, 16-year-old Zach Klimek, son of Tim Klimek and Heather Klimek of Merrill, was right there behind him racing and jumping his snowmobile, as well. “I’ve been driving snowmobile for a long time, probably since I was five,” Klimek said. “But it was just an old John Deere. I didn’t really get into it until this last year.”
Klimek was driving and jumping his 1999 Polaris Indy 500 on Sunday. “My friends got me into it,” he said of snowmobiling. “My favorite part about it is having fun with my friends and the feeling when you open up the throttle.”
When asked what that feels like he said, “It’s super fun, but when you land, it kinda hurts.”
“We were taking it easy because we didn’t want to break anything,” he added when asked if jumping the snowmobiles was hard on the machines.
Klimek said he isn’t involved in snowmobile racing at this time but didn’t rule it out. His snowmobiling goal? “I really want to build a vintage John Deere racing snowmobile,” Klimek said.