Ice Road Truckers

Friday 18 February, 8:00pm on Five

The thrilling documentary about the truckers who brave Alaska’s most fearsome and treacherous roads continues its fourth series. In this episode, Jack finds himself on thin ice during an urgent fuel delivery, Lisa faces her biggest challenge yet as she handles her first oversized load, and veteran drivers Alex and Hugh continue their long-standing rivalry. In Fairbanks, Jack is given an urgent delivery of fuel to take to the isolated village of Nuiqsut. The settlement, which is 570 miles to the north of the depot, is located across a long stretch of frozen river. As the village is running low on the diesel fuel needed to run its generators, a speedy delivery is vital. However, Jack first has to conquer some steep mountain passes. This usually tricky task is made all the more difficult by the diesel fluid moving around in the lorry’s containers. This ‘slosh effect’ can become so violent that trucks can tip over and be thrown off the road. “The liquid load acts like it’s alive,” Jack explains. Jack’s tyres soon begin to spin dangerously close to the edge of the mountain road. It is only some expert handling of his vehicle that stops Jack from crashing over the barrier. “I ran over the ledge!” Jack says. “We just made that one,” he adds, relieved. However, Jack’s troubles begin in earnest when he takes the heavy load onto the frozen river. “It’s a weird sensation, being on the ice – it makes me nervous,” he confesses. Jack’s uneasiness is compounded when he realises that a storm is closing in around him, meaning that he could effectively be trapped out on the ice. Can he arrive at his destination safely? Meanwhile, Lisa is unexpectedly called to go and see her boss. Luckily for her, it is good news – she has been entrusted with driving an oversized load to Prudhoe. As she is carrying a bulk which is 45ft long and 16ft high, there is little margin for error, especially when driving through the streets of the populated Fairbanks. “I always get an adrenaline rush,” Lisa says. As she hits the highway the journey is going well, but Lisa soon hears news of freezing fog ahead. “We’re gonna get swallowed up,” Lisa warns. As the fog descends, visibility is reduced to next to nothing. “It’s hard to know what to focus on when you can’t see it,” Lisa says. Will she be able to drive through the rough weather to prove her trucking mettle once and for all?

Friday 11 February, 8:00pm on Five

The thrilling documentary about the truckers who brave Alaska’s most fearsome and treacherous roads continues its fourth series. As another heavy snowstorm halts many of the truckers in their tracks, Lisa struggles to meet an important deadline and Ray finds himself caught out in the cold. In Fairbanks, Lisa is given an important cargo of piping, which will be used in a 400-mile overland oil pipeline. The importance of maintaining the pipeline means that Lisa must deliver her load to Prudhoe within a strict time limit. Still eager to prove her mettle, Lisa is up for the challenge. “I’m ready to step up my game a little bit,” she says. However, at the start of her journey she hears that a heavy storm is due on the road, so is forced to stay the night at the Coldfoot truck stop. Lisa’s luck seems to change for the better the next morning when the storm lifts briefly, giving her a small window of opportunity to join a large convoy. “You don’t go trucking in a storm without a buddy,” she explains. However, as the storm moves in again, Lisa only has a few hours to meet her delivery deadline. Although she has to pick up her pace to get to Prudhoe in time, the snow-covered, unploughed roads and limited visibility prove treacherous. “Can you see the side of the road?” Lisa asks the camera crew. “Because I sure can’t!” Will the tenacious trucker reach her destination on time? Rookie rider Ray starts his day at Prudhoe. He asks for a return load to Fairbanks in order to increase his wages. Ray is granted a load, but has to secure it to the back of his cab and put chains on his tires in subzero temperatures and 50mph winds. “I don’t know if I can handle this -what the hell am I doing here?” Ray says whilst out in the squall. What is usually a 20-minute job stretches out for more than an hour, by which time there is a small gap in the stormy weather. Ray boldly decides to make a break for it while the calmer weather holds. However, the high winds have blown large snowdrifts onto the road, which present a new challenge for the rookie. Ray is then served a grim reminder to take care when he drives past a lorry wreck. Unfortunately for the new driver, his own luck is short-lived. As the storm closes in around him, Ray has to follow the lights of the truck ahead. “I wouldn’t want to be doing this stuff alone,” Ray confides. He eventually has to pull over and spend the night in his cab. When he sets off again, there are warnings about avalanches on the mountain passes. Will Ray manage to deliver his load without further drama?

Friday 4 February, 8:00pm on Five

The thrilling documentary about the truckers who brave Alaska’s most fearsome and treacherous roads continues its fourth series. In this instalment, the first storm of the season causes problems for the drivers, Alex has an important physical exam, Lisa has trouble with her equipment and Ray continues to make potentially hazardous rookie mistakes. The Dalton Highway, a 500-mile long road connecting the Alaskan city of Fairbanks with the Arctic oilfields of Prudhoe Bay, is an icy gauntlet that provides some of the most dangerous driving conditions in the world. The first storm of the season bears down on the road, causing high winds and towering snow drifts on the mountain passes. At Prudhoe the drivers have a choice – either wait until the storm passes at the risk of losing a day’s pay, or struggle through the dangerous conditions. Jack, Hugh and Alex decide to set up a three-truck convoy down to Fairbanks. “Let’s get the hell out of here!” Jack says, taking the lead. As they head down a mountain pass, Jack’s engine starts filling up with snow. “This is definitely not a place I want my motor to shut down,” Jack says. He is forced to pull over and change his filter, letting Alex and Hugh pass. “Going solo’s better than not going at all,” Hugh reflects, leaving Jack to correct the problem by himself. Will Jack be able to make the necessary repairs in time to catch up with his driving buddies? Another two drivers that decide to team up are Greg and Ray. However, their plan soon falls apart when Greg’s truck needs inspecting, meaning that rookie Ray has to go out on the road alone. Once again he decides to take a steep hill without putting chains around his tires and ends up stalling his lorry. “There’s a lot of rookie shit going on today,” Ray says. Later, the same problem occurs again. “I can’t flipping believe this day!” he exclaims. As the trucks begin to pile up behind him, Ray has to quickly jump out and throw chains around his tires. However, the trickiness of the act wears down Ray’s patience. “I think I want to quit – I can’t take it anymore,” he confides. Will the rookie give up so early into his first season?

Friday 28 January, 8:00pm on Five

The thrilling documentary about the truckers who brave Alaska’s most fearsome and treacherous roads continues its fourth series. In this instalment, Greg and Lisa continue their campaigns to earn the respect of their fellow drivers, Hugh Rowland’s first trip of the season gets off to a bad start and rookie driver Ray has a potentially lethal problem with his engine. The Dalton Highway, a 500-mile long road connecting the Alaskan city of Fairbanks with the Arctic oilfields of Prudhoe Bay, is an icy gauntlet that provides some of the most dangerous driving conditions in the world. At the beginning of the second day of the trucking season, a ‘whiteout’, or thick, low-visibility snow-storm, occurs 50 miles south of Prudhoe. During his rookie season last year, 27-year-old father Greg Boadwine overturned his truckload of pipelines. The freight company has given Greg a second chance and another year behind the wheel, but Greg is finding that he is still bottom of the pecking order. His haul of the day is a relatively small load of lumber weighing 2,500lbs. “It’s kind of a light, sissy load,” a disappointed Greg says. As he enters the whiteout, his visibility is greatly reduced, increasing his chances of a disastrous head-on collision. Greg then comes across a grim reminder of the dangers of the trucking route – a fuel truck has overturned and split in two. The shaken driver of the crashed lorry is lucky to be alive. “It could easily have been me,” Greg says. “As long as I’m not in a pine box, we’re good,” he announces. Another trucker who has been given a disappointing second haul is Lisa Kelly. After failing to deliver her rig without another driver’s help (see last week’s episode), she is given a ‘leftover load’, which is an assortment of smaller deliveries loaded onto one truck. To add insult to injury, she then overhears other truckers talk about her in a disparaging way over the CB radio, which further dampens her spirits. Events take a turn for the worse within an hour of Lisa’s journey, as her brakes stop working properly. “I’m freaked out right now,” she says. After failing to fix the brakes herself, Lisa has the choice of either undertaking a humiliating return to Fairbanks, or attempting to continue with malfunctioning brakes. Will she risk a crash in order to win the respect of her fellow lorry drivers?

Friday 21 January, 8:00pm on Five

The thrilling documentary about the truckers who brave Alaska’s most fearsome and treacherous roads returns for a fourth series. In this instalment, the truck drivers gear up for another season on the icy roads. Greg and Lisa both have points to prove, Alex faces trouble on a mountain pass and rookie Ray makes a potentially lethal mistake. The Dalton Highway, a 500-mile long road connecting the Alaskan city of Fairbanks with the Arctic oilfields of Prudhoe Bay, is an icy gauntlet that provides some of the most dangerous driving conditions in the world. During his rookie season last year, 27-year-old father Greg Boadwine overturned his truckload of pipelines. The freight company has given Greg a second chance and another year behind the wheel, but he is aware of how tenuous his position as a driver is. “I’m just hanging on by a thread,” he says. On his opening day back he is given his first load – another cargo of pipes. Will he be able to overcome his jitters and deliver the freight safely? Lisa Kelly is also out to prove a point in her sophomore year of driving the route. As a woman in a still largely male profession, she feels the need to earn the other drivers’ respect. “I’ve had to work twice as hard to prove I’m half as good,” she says. On her debut run of the season she is given a carcarrier for the first time – a notoriously tricky load to carry which can roll easily and blow its tires due to its low frame. As she sets out in convoy with another driver, it soon becomes apparent that Lisa has to drive slowly. “It feels like running a trailer made of balloons over a cactus,” she confides. Her lack of confidence means that she and her partner are soon running two hours behind schedule. Her fellow driver, being more experienced, offers to swap trailers with her in order to get their rigs into Prudhoe on time. Will Lisa be able to swallow her pride and admit defeat, at the risk of facing ridicule from her fellow truckers?

Champions of the ice tackle their biggest challenge yet.

The Ice Road Truckers are back this month on HISTORY™ for the toughest season they may ever face. Veterans of the frozen North, drivers Rick Yemm, Alex Debogorski, Lisa Kelly and newcomer, Dave Redmon have traveled a long way from home and way out of their comfort zones to face the ultimate test.

Trading the oil-rich plains of North America and Canada for the treacherous mountain passes of India’s most dangerous roads, the Truckers are sure to have their work cut out for them. Climbing the jagged peaks and speeding down the sheer slopes of the Himalayas, they’ll have more to worry about than on what side of the road they should be driving. Racing ahead in temperatures that can threaten to melt tires one moment and freeze the road beneath them the next, they’ll have to fight hard to stay calm and in control.

Nothing could have prepared them for this.

Starting on the narrow, rocky roads that wind away from Delhi before climbing to a construction site precariously perched between the mountains, Alex’s iron will is tested as he battles to hold his rig together in the harshest conditions he’s ever experienced. Meanwhile Rick, Lisa and Dave fight hard to speed on through the unfamiliar twists and turns, knowing any mistake could be fatal.

Will the drivers make it through the whole season to reap the rewards of their death-defying work or will the challenge prove too much? With people’s lives depending on their vital cargo, they’ll have to battle through some of the worst conditions on the planet, not to mention the serious language barrier, to survive these deadly roads. Find out if their strength and determination pulls them through on HISTORY™ this December.

December 16th at 10pm on History.

Tuesday 30 March at 8.00pm

The documentary series examining the dangerous job of driving trucks on Alaska’s Dalton Highway concludes. In the last episode of the series, Lisa must negotiate Atigun Pass without brakes. George calls time on his 30-year trucking career. Tim makes his first solo run. Hugh and Alex’s rivalry intensifies in the final strait. And Jack makes one last trip over the ocean ice.

The winter trucking season is almost over and ice is melting up and down the haul road. Lisa Kelly is southbound on her final run, hauling 50,000lb of hazardous waste to Fairbanks. “Time to say goodbye to all this gorgeousness,” she says, admiring the tundra. For Lisa, it has been a season of personal achievements, having moved into the big league as a heavy haulier. One last challenge is in store when her trailer brakes stop working and she must cross Atigun Pass without using her brake pedal. “I am really proud of myself this year,” Lisa says. “For all the accidents there’s been, for all the storms there’s been, I survived it.”

George Spears sets out from Fairbanks on the last trip of his 30-year career. “Not only is it the end of the season, it’s the end of me – I’m done,” he says. This winter has been one of the toughest seasons George can remember. He remains philosophical about his retirement. “I’ve spent all my money on beer and women,” he says. “The rest of it I just wasted!” However, his fellow truckers are not convinced they have seen the last of him. “Once you got truck driving in your blood, it’s hard to get it out,” remarks Jack Jessee.

George’s erstwhile protégé, Tim Freeman, is ready for his first solo trip up the Dalton. Having endured a torrid time at the start of the season, Tim is pleased with the way he has handled the road – although the late-season bumps and potholes are causing him some concern. “I knew the road was gonna get rough, but I didn’t think it was gonna get as rough as it did,” he says. Tim meets Lisa at Coldfoot and takes time out to fix her brakes for the run to Fairbanks.

Alex Debogorski is hoping to catch up his old pal Hugh Rowland on the final lap of the season. Alex is trailing Hugh by one load. Whether he succeeds or not, however, this year has been a personal triumph for Alex. Last year his season was cut short by ill health and he had to be hospitalised in Yellowknife. Alex is especially proud to have conquered North America’s toughest road – the Dalton. “I’m not sure what the future holds for Alex Debogorski,” he says. “I’m not into reading tea leaves. I’m working at this one day at a time!”

Hugh’s position on the leader board comes under threat when part of his braking system drops off his truck. “It’s an old truck, it just rusted off,” he says. With Phil Kromm’s help, Hugh patches up his rig and completes the journey to Fairbanks. Mechanics work overnight to get the truck back on the road for a final ride back to Deadhorse. “Them guys in the shop did a hell of a good job,” says Hugh. By completing his final journey, Hugh has pulled one more load than Alex, and has distinguished himself amongst this year’s batch of rookies. “I’m officially a member of the Dalton gang!” he whoops.

With the other truckers heading homewards, there is one man still plying the ice roads. Expert trucker Jack Jessee has one last haul of diesel fuel bound for an offshore oil rig. The trip will take him 80 miles over the ocean water, just hours before the ice road is closed for the year. Unfortunately, there is an unexpected obstacle blocking his path – a polar bear. “I’ve had a lot of delays this year,” Jack reflects. “Why not a bear?”

Tuesday 16th February 8.00pm

The documentary series examining the dangerous job of driving trucks on Alaska’s Dalton Highway continues. This week, Lisa hauls another heavy load bound for Prudhoe Bay. George and Tim head north into a heavy Arctic storm. Travelling in the opposite direction, Hugh and Phil find their way blocked on Atigun Pass. And Alex must go it alone when his mentor drives off in the middle of the storm.

The truckers are on high alert as an Arctic storm blows across Alaska. With the road in danger of being closed, drivers scramble to complete their journeys. Lisa has been tasked with delivering another heavy load to Prudhoe Bay. She is optimistic that she can cover the 400-mile drive before the bad weather hits. “We’re gonna fight weather, we’re gonna fight night-time and we’re gonna get there,” she says.

Heading north over a twisty stretch of road called the Taps, Lisa is dusted with heavy snow by oncoming trucks. But she would rather they approach at full speed than attempt to brake. “If you hit your brakes, there’s a good chance your trailer is gonna slide around and take me out,” she says. Next, Lisa heads down a hill with the appropriate name of the Rollercoaster. She shoots down with enough speed to propel her up the next slope – only to be greeted by ominous storm clouds on the horizon. “There is a good chance Mother Nature will barf all over this road!” she says.

Lisa’s hopes of driving through to Deadhorse are finally dashed when she reaches the truck stop at Coldfoot. A parking lot full of rigs tells her that the highway has officially closed to northbound traffic. Lisa will have to bide her time in Coldfoot and wait for the storm to clear.

George Spears and Tim Freeman start the day in Coldfoot , where they hear an advisory warning against all travel. However, the dispatcher reckons they have time to make it to Deadhorse before the storm hits, so the boys ship out. “We’ll just take the consequences and head north,” says George, casting a worried eye over his protégé. Further up the road, they consult a fellow trucker, who advises them that they have a narrow window of time to reach Deadhorse. “Hi ho, into the blow we go,” says Tim.

The duo drive the slick highway over Atigun Pass and reach the tundra, where they are buffeted by strong winds. Worse still, they must go ‘drift slamming’ – smashing through the thick snow drifts that have gathered on the road. “We’re gonna have to put the hammer down,” says George. With night falling and the storm in full flow, can the pair cover the last 20 miles to Deadhorse without spinning off the road?

Hugh Rowland and Phil Kromm begin their journey south back to Fairbanks by driving through some nasty fog. Hugh faces another hairy moment when a driver makes a hesitant effort to overtake him. “Don’t be such a pansy and get out of here!” Hugh growls, as the truck narrowly avoids crashing into a snow plough. At the top of Atigun, Hugh and Phil have to stop while crews remove a truck that is blocking the road. Phil puts the time to good use by barbecuing a tasty caribou steak on a portable grill.

Not far behind is Alex Debogorski, who is once again teamed with veteran driver Jack McCann. Alex is hauling an empty trailer, which gives him little traction on the ice. For the first time Alex faces the daunting challenge of tackling Atigun Pass at night. “Better in the dark because then you can’t see over the side!” he says.

The pair pull over to fit chains to their wheels. However, Alex is unfamiliar with chains as they are rarely used on Canadian ice roads. While he fumbles in the dark, Jack grows increasingly impatient. “I’m about sick of this shit today,” he grumbles. Abruptly, Jack walks back to his cab and drives off – leaving Alex to complete the rest of the journey on his own. “Lord give us a hand,” he says, making the sign of the cross. “Make sure we don’t mess it up…”

Tuesday 9th February 8.00pm

The documentary series examining the dangerous job of driving trucks on Alaska’s Dalton Highway continues. This week, Hugh and Phil tackle another run up the Dalton. Alex travels the toughest part of the road with a flat tyre. Lisa transports 80ft pipes to an offshore platform. And rookie Tim struggles to keep his rig on the road.

In Fairbanks, Hugh Rowland is desperate to begin his next trip on the Dalton Highway – but his mentor, Phil Kromm, is late. It transpires that safety officer Phil has accidentally backed into a truck, damaging his bumper. Phil faces the embarrassment of having to write a report on himself. “It’s a $1,000 mistake – plus I get to hear about this for probably the next ten years,” he says ruefully.

The delay allows Hugh’s rival Alex Debogorski to get a head start on him. Hugh admits that he enjoys tricking his fellow Canadian into believing the gap between them is closer than it really is. “Me and Alex have always had a friendly little rivalry… I always lie to him,” Hugh says. “If I had 20 loads, I’d tell him I had 15!” Hugh has hauled two more loads than his rival so far this season.

For his part, Alex has been plagued by breakdowns and mechanical failures. Having struggled on his first two trips, Alex is pleased to encounter fewer difficulties third time around. He even has time to reflect on the Alaskan truckers’ attitudes to the Canadian drivers. “There’s a few of them that are grumpy about Hughie and me being here,” he says. “They’re not happy to see Canada’s national treasures on this road with them!”

Alex’s luck changes for the worse when he discovers he has a flat tyre. With no spares available, he must journey the rest of the way to Deadhorse on a flat, which will inevitably slow him down and pile pressure on his other wheels. Worse still, Alex’s tribulations enable Hugh to overtake him. “Well, Hugh’s gone ahead. I guess everything is going fine for him!” Alex says.

Lisa Kelly is about to leave Fairbanks with the longest load of her career to date. She has to deliver huge 80ft pipes to an oil platform in the Arctic Ocean. The trip, which will take her over the ocean ice, is another milestone on her quest to becoming an elite driver. “I know she wants the challenge,” says dispatcher Tim. “She’d like to be the first heavyhaul woman that we’ve got here at Carlile.”

Lisa must depart the Carlile yard before 4pm because no wide loads are allowed in town during rush hour. Unfortunately, her brakes have frozen, and the delay could cost her half a day. After crawling under her trailer to hammer away at the ice, Lisa finally gets the cab moving – with seconds to spare. “Bend me over and spank me!” she cries. No sooner is Lisa on the move than she realises the enormity of her task. “Holy crap, this thing is long! Our problem is gonna be corners.” Can Lisa make it all the way to the Arctic Ocean in one piece?

Elsewhere, rookie Tim Freeman retrieves his broken-down truck from the side of the road. He is dismayed to discover that some cheeky thief has stolen the chains for his wheels. “Somebody helped themselves!” he cries. Without chains, Tim has to make a terrifying journey ‘barefoot’ back to Fairbanks, with his rig sliding around on the ice.

More bad news is in store when the greenhorn learns his cab has a starter problem. Tim and his mentor George Spears spend an anxious couple of hours in the garage before the problem is resolved. Later that day, they find themselves driving into 30mph winds, which have left the road looking like polished glass. On the two-mile slope known as the Beaver Slide, Tim’s truck begins to ski downhill. “I don’t think I have it in me,” the rookie says. Is his trip about to come to a sudden end?

Tuesday 26th January 8.00pm

The documentary series exploring one of the world’s most dangerous professions continues. In this episode, Hugh embarks on his first solo run up the Dalton Highway. Alex struggles to get going. Lisa faces a whiteout on a mountain pass. And Jack takes a trip over the Arctic Ocean.

This season, veteran Canadian drivers Alex Deborgorski and Hugh ‘The Polar Bear’ Rowland tackle the Dalton Highway in Alaska. The boys join six other truckers who hope to earn big money plying the 414-mile route across mountains and tundra to the oilfields of Deadhorse. This scenic highway, built in 1974 to service the Trans-Alaskan oil pipeline, has claimed countless lives over the years. Can the current crop of ice road truckers stay safe as they deliver vital supplies to the coast?

For his first solo trip on the road, Hugh will be travelling in convoy with instructor Phil Kromm. Before leaving Fairbanks, Hugh fills his tank with $1,000-worth of fuel for the 400-mile trip. “We’re full of motion lotion and we’re ready to rock and roll,” he says. Hugh’s first challenge comes on the two-mile downward slope known as the Beaver Slide. He fails to cut his speed and comes dangerously close to Phil’s truck. “If you don’t respect this road, you’re taking your life in your hands,” he says. “Could be somebody else’s life.”

Despite his close call, Hugh repeats his mistake on the highest part of the Dalton. The Atigun Pass winds through the mountains at an altitude of 4,700 feet, with a sheer drop on one side. Hugh crests the pass at speed and has to perform a risky gear change to stop himself sliding into Phil. “Dammit, just be careful,” says Phil. “I got lucky,” Hugh admits.

Alex, meanwhile, is struggling to get off the mark. A broken trailer forces him to seek an alternative load. “Problems are part of the job,” he says, ruefully. Finally, Alex is ready to set off in partnership with veteran driver Jack McCahan. Alex’s task is to deliver pipes weighing 46,000lbs to Prudhoe Bay. Unfortunately, the late start costs the boys valuable time and when Jack suggests they stop overnight in Coldfoot, Alex has no choice but to park his truck.

Elsewhere, Lisa Kelly continues up the highway with her first heavy load – a set of huge tyres. Lisa’s trailer is so wide a pilot car is sent ahead to warn oncoming traffic she is approaching. However, several southbound trucks do not heed the warning and race past her truck with inches to spare. Before climbing the Atigun Pass, Lisa struggles to place heavy chains on her wheels. “Most challenging part of my job – being little and not having the muscle other people have,” she says.

Lisa clears the pass in a whiteout but is forced to go the rest of the way on her own when her pilot car becomes stuck. Crossing a stretch of Arctic tundra called the Bluffs, Lisa finds herself face to face with an unwelcome Phase 3 storm. “This is by far the most intense trip ever,” she says. Crawling along in the dark at 5mph, can she make it to Deadhorse safely?

Also this week, Jack Jessee steers his way out of a storm to reach his destination. The last 50 miles of the drive take him eight hours. Before he can return to Fairbanks, Jack is ordered to deliver a set of pipes to an offshore oil rig in the Arctic Ocean. This journey will take him across a genuine ice road. The speed limit is just 10mph to ensure that drivers do not go through the ice. “There’s a limited amount of time to get that oil rig loaded up with things they can’t fly in in the summer,” Jack says. How will he fare on the flat ocean ice?

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