Merrill man builds winter fun land in his front yard

The area consists of a 40x60 ice rink, nearly 20 ft tall sledding hill, and snowmobile rides.
The area consists of a 40x60 ice rink, nearly 20 ft tall sledding hill, and snowmobile rides.(WSAW)
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 8:48 PM CST
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - Consisting of a 40x60 ice rink, a nearly 20 ft tall sledding hill, and no shortage of snowmobile rides, Merrill’s Derrick Simon is the architect of a winter playland. This is Simon’s fifth year creating the playland. He said the area takes plenty of hard work to put together.

“We start off right before the ground freezes, cause we gotta stake off the ground, frame out the ice rink, get it all squared off,” says Derrick Simon, Merrill. “And then a big tarp we gotta order through the mail and it takes about a week or two to get here. Other than that, laying it out and filling it with water.”

Hard work that’s well worth it, giving the community a fun go-to spot for the season.

“It’s like you’re going down a water slide, and I like going down water slides,” says Ella Simon, 9, Merrill.

Beyond the main attractions, the winter playland stays fresh with different activities.

“Just always fun to come here and do all the new stuff,” says Jordan Scheuerman, 13, Merrill. “Usually when I come here, there’s always something new to do.”

Activities best enjoyed with those you’re closest to.

“It’s pretty fun to hang out with all my sisters and all that,” says Scheuerman.

“I could have fun with my friends and family,” says Ella.

Even at no cost for people to stop by, it’s the memories that best motivate Derrick to keep building the area up.

“Lots of kids come out here for their first time to skate,” says Derrick. “That’s always a plus, just to make sure they have that memory. Even if they don’t remember it, it feels good to know that I was able to provide that first-time experience for them to come out here and do that.”

For the ice rink, Derrick mentions that it’s even cooler at night because it glows in the dark.

To contact Derrick to come out and join in on the fun yourself, you can reach him at 715-574-6303.