Beginning on Sunday, June 17 from 10pm/9c, The History Channel will begin airing a new reality series called Ice Road Truckers.
The show begins to Aerosmith's Livin' On The Edge, a suitable and apt description of life on this 350 mile Ice Road which traverses 30 lakes in Canada's Northwest Territories. Up near the Arctic Circle are two diamond mines and a gold mine which depend upon the truckers to bring in their supplies for the entire year. These winter months are the only time they can get what they need, so time is of the essence.
The cast of truckers includes Alex, Rick, Jay, Hugh (Polar Bear), T.J. and Drew who drive the dangerous road ... They sleep when they can, they eat when they can, but their job is to get as many loads into the mines as long as the road lasts.
1) Alex, the veteran, is also a Roman Catholic lay prison minister and the proud father of 11 children and 7 grandchildren.
2) Although he has been a trucker for years, Drew is a newcomer to the Ice Road. He is part of Hugh's team after answering a newspaper ad.
3) Hugh (Polar Bear) is a native of Yellowknife and owns four trucks. He says,“the winter road just gets in your blood”. He‘s married, with three kids and his wife worries about him every year when he leaves.
4) Jay started driving trucks at 16 and bought his own rig at 18, but this is his first year on the Ice Road.
5) Rick is the wild one of the bunch. This is his second year on the Ice Road despite a tough runs last year, when the sound of the ice cracking and the steepness of the hills scared the bejeebers out of him.
“It‘s not for the faint of heart,” he says and this year he plans on beating his boss Hugh.
6) TJ hates the cold, hates the ice, and is not here for the money, but for the experience. His family background is in farming as well as trucking.
Shooting in 40 below is a challenge for the crew as well. They use DVDs and small cameras mounted onto all surfaces of the trucks to give viewers a better perspective. The weather is the enemy thought, and at times, they have to do with a 30-second clip because the camera has frozen up.
The cold is hard on everything including metal. We think it is basically indestructible. We know a very hot fire will melt it, but do you know that in the temperatures up on the Ice Road, the metal will literally shatter?
Speeding is a serious and deadly problem on the Ice Road. As those heavy loads are traversing the ice surface, a resulting wave forms below it. If the truck moves too fast, the wave cannot keep up and will grow in size to the point where it breaks through the surface to form 'breakthroughs'. Another truck hits that and they go in.
When that happens, the divers come out to recover the trucks because of pollution factors. We follow on of the divers on the first episode. That has the makings of another reality show! Being down there with him brings feeling of claustrophobia and the dread of being trapped below the ice, unable to find a way out.
If you like Deadliest Catch, this show will appeal to you. It is "Athentic TV", my term for what reality TV should be. The men and the weather write the script and we just watch it unfold.
Do catch this show! And while you are at it, check out the Ice Breaker Online Game (link below).