Vt. students learn about dog sledding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. students learn about dog sledding

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While the rest of us were learning to survive in this freezing weather, St. Francis Xavier students were learning what it takes to cross the Alaskan tundra by sled.

"At 10:30 a.m. the Iditarod starts (Saturday) so you know it's cold in Vermont and what are you going to do with 20 kids in the dead of winter and still make it fun and exciting for them," said teacher Gretel-Ann Fischer.   

All week they learned about the culture and lifestyle of sled dog racing and the Iditarod.

"If I lived in Alaska I would definitely do this," said student Teaghan Fischer.   

It was a great way to disconnect from typical classroom life, and lucky for these kids they spent their vacation in the classroom. The topic is timely because of our unseasonably cold weather.

"We've been doing studies and it's been colder than it is in Alaska, so that's kind of blown their mind," said Fischer. 

And while making cardboard sleds, building paper totem poles and watching slide shows was all very riveting.

"Everything was building up the excitement until this day came," said Fischer.  

The real highlight was of course meeting the dogs.

"They have so much fur I didn't realize they had so much," said student Logan Jacobsen. 

These Siberian huskies trekked all the way from Hinesburg to Winooski to show these kids what it's like to lead a sled.

"I thought they would be bigger," said student Sierra Matte.

They may look small, but they are speedy. A dog this size would need 20,000 calories a day to run the actual Iditarod race. That's double what Michael Phelps did while he was training for the Olympics. It is 1,000 miles after all.

Reporter Molly Smith: They are really well behaved, just like your class, right?

Sierra Matte: Yes kind of. Not really.  

A great end to their week away from the classroom, kind of. Just in time for the weekend! 

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