Student unsure of sled dog future

In winter months most young children marvel at thoughts of going skiing or building snowmen, but the Gast brothers had their eyes set on something much greater; dog sled racing.
It was a dream that began in former Castleton State student Eddie Gast’s third grade classroom when a musher made a presentation to the students.
“It just exploded from there,” said brother and CSC sophomore Dillon Gast.
It took a year and a half to convince their parents, but now 13 years and 17 countries later, Dillon is still pursuing his childhood dream and still racing.
Since the age of 12, Dillon has been travelling for races across Europe and much of the northeastern United States and Canada.  
In Europe, he spends most of his time in Hamburg, Germany where he actually lived for a year after high school with his mentor, Ullrich Kuhn.
“He’s like family,” Dillon said of Kuhn. “Basically I have two homes. I have my home here in Vermont and my home over there.”
While living in Hamburg Dillon worked as a dog handler where he cared for 17 puppies and 16 race dogs.
“It was a 24/7 job,” he said with a laugh.
Over the semester break, Dillon had the opportunity to return to Europe for yet another race with Kuhn. This time they ventured outside Hamburg to The Dolemite Mountains between northern Italy and Austria where they would race the Alpen Trail.
With a team of six German Short Haired Pointers crossed with Alaskan Huskies that he borrowed from four different people, Dillon spent six days conquering the three-stage trail. Each stage is approximately 40-50 km and is completed twice.
“Everybody, including my mentor, said I wouldn’t be in the top 10, and I came in third,” said Dillon.
This recent placing is just an extension to Dillon’s already long list of racing accomplishments. In addition to competing in the World Championships twice and receiving the bronze medal once, Dillon has also received the bronze and gold medals in the U.S. Championships.
Dillon said he is still unsure of his future plans with dog racing and its potential for career opportunities in Europe.
“I have a lot of decisions to make,” he said.

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