Kim Darst was born and raised in Blairstown, New Jersey. In 1987, at the age of seventeen, she became the youngest helicopter pilot in the world. She currently owns two airplanes and three helicopters and operates Husky Haven Kennels in the beautiful UP of Michigan in a town called Shingleton.
ABOUT THE MUSHER
“Wings Rotors & Paws” is Kim Darst’s business motto and that says it all! Kim is a helicopter pilot by trade. She owned and operated a flight school in northwestern New Jersey and also had an airport in northeastern Pennsylvania called “Husky Haven Airport”.
Kim became intrigued with flying during a childhood helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. By the time she was 17 she had earned her pilot’s license and flew herself to her own high school graduation. For years Kim held the record as the youngest licensed pilot in the world. Her passion then became her career.
For the aviation enthusiasts, her craft specifically include: one Cessna 172s, a J-3 Cub on floats, Bell Jetranger 206, a Bell 47 (like the one used in the TV show M*A*S*H*), and a Schweizer 300C. In the early 1990's Kim’s work took her to the great state of Alaska where she discovered the joy and thrill of the state sport, dog sledding. Obscure as it might be in New Jersey, Kim
recognized an opportunity to fill the long flight-free winters with a new found passion. She returned to the Garden State with every intention of running dogs in it.
Kim’s quest started with just two Samoyeds, and when she announced that she wanted to pursue racing she received a priceless gift. One of her flight students purchased an Alaskan Husky for her: a racing sled dog from the kennel of the legendary four-time Iditarod winner, Susan Butcher. Today Kim’s kennel consists of 65 Alaskan Huskies, including some descendants from Susan Butcher’s lines.
In 2009 the Husky Haven Race Team pulled Kim and her packed sled out of the starting chute and into Iditarod XXXVII. As they hit that famous trail they also launched Kim Darst into history again, this time as the first musher from New Jersey to ever embark on Alaska’s historical and unpredictable “Last Great Race on Earth.”
Today Kim lives in the UP of Michigan where they count snow by the feet instead of inches with her sled dogs.
Maple getting some loving....
I'm Jean Pollock a retired school teacher from Phillipsburg, NJ and have always been interested in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race of Alaska. I taught about the history of the race to special needs teens. In 2007 in the village of Shageluk, AK I volunteered as a checker during the 2007 Iditarod. I had the New Jersey Sled Dog Club come do a presentation at the school in which Kim Darst of Blairstown, NJ was one of the presentors in 2007. In talking with her I inquired about volunteering at her kennel and have been her assistant since. I took care of her older dogs while she trained in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Then Kim invited me to drive along the Al-Can highway on the way to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska. I assisted in the handling of her team during the start of the 2009 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Today I'm the kennel manager and tour director for Husky Haven Kennels located in Shingleton, Michigan.