Life On The Road
‘Ice Road Truckers’ slicker than ever
If you think life on the road is tough, wait until you get a load of life on an ice road.
“Ice Road Truckers,” the summer hit series on the History Channel (Sundays at 9 p.m./8 central), is back for a second season, and it’s slicker, colder and more dangerous than ever. For season two, drivers Hugh, Rick, Drew and Alex return and once again risk their lives hauling supplies across the frozen Great North, only this time they’re operating inside the Arctic Circle around the remote outposts of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in extreme northern Canada. Newcomers Bear, Erick and Davey join them in a race against time, nature and, occasionally, each other.
Last year, the truckers drove on roads over frozen lakes near Yellowknife, a mining town in Canada’s Northwest Territories. This season, things get more daring and dicey as the men traverse frozen river and ocean ice roads while facing hazards, constraints and conditions that even they aren’t used to.
Two clients, the Mallik Gas Hydrate Research Project and MGM Energy, rely on the short ice road season as the sole supply for their energy ventures. In about two months, or until the ice roads melt, these clients collaborate with three competitive trucking companies who must work together to move hundreds of heavy and oversized loads over frozen river and ocean water.
Once again, the clock is always ticking. Winter offers the big money months for ice road truckers, because that’s when the lakes, rivers and ocean waters freeze thick enough to drive on. The short operating window, extreme arctic conditions and billions of dollars at stake combine for a high-risk, high-reward ice road season for the handful of truck drivers willing to tackle the brutal temperatures and perilous roads.
According to the show’s Web site, “ ‘Ice Road Truckers’ is a story about adventure, perseverance, human ingenuity and most importantly danger. Every day the truckers hit the ice roads, they are taking their lives into their hands. One miscalculation of the road, bad weather or an unseen road hazard can mean the difference between life and death.”
No matter what the driver’s experience is as an ice road trucker, driving on frozen ocean roads north of the Arctic Circle is a unique and harrowing experience. Even the most seasoned truckers will find themselves challenged by polar conditions, isolation and the lack of creature comforts.
Hugh Rowland, nicknamed “The Polar Bear,” emerged as the star of the show last year. A veteran of nearly 30 years of ice road trucking, Rowland, an animal on the ice, is one of the toughest and most experienced ice road truckers on the planet. “It’s about adventure and cash,” he says. “The winter road just gets in your blood. It’s adventurous, challenging, and you can go as hard as you want.”