DAVID PETERSON THE MARVELOUS MENACE OF MAINE


Contributed by Gary Merritt

While trail riding one day I stopped at a local club house. Like most club houses, they had a memorabilia wall. On this wall was a picture of a young boy jumping a 1969 Ski-Doo Nordic. I often wondered who the kid was and the story around the picture. Well I asked around and found out that the kid was then 17 year old David Peterson, and that the picture was so amazing that it had appeared in 1969 Life Magazine!

Intrigued, I called around and found David. He is now 55 years old and I asked him about the picture. The story goes like this:

“Well, i was kinda crazy back then as all kids were, I guess. My dad had given me that sled for cutting my hair. After 6 weeks and growing most of my hair back, I thought I would celebrate by jumping my new sled.”

It was quite a job making the jump that day, we had to trample down the snow in front of a pile made by a plow. The next thing was to get the sled to go over it and not through it. So we had to make sure we had enough of a slope in front of the ramp.

Now being young and fearless at the time, I took the first try at around 45mph. Looking back on it, its a wonder i didn’t just go flying over the handle bars.

The picture that made Life Magazine was my third attempt, I wanted to get as much ‘air’ (as they say today) as I could. I actually hit twice on the landing, breaking the boogie wheel shafts, and thus stopping any more attempts for that day anyway.”

I asked David what ever happened to the old Nordic. He told me the sled was pretty much junk after a few years.

“I was always jumping something, man I broke so many parts on that sled it was forever being repaired.”

David no longer snowmobiles, a bad back prevents this. But he loves being found from time to time and talking about the infamous jumping picture.

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