- Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers Genre Realimentary Starring Hugh Rowland
Tim Freeman, Jr.
Narrated by Thom Beers
Tom Cotcher (UK)
Theme music composer Aerosmith Opening theme "Livin' on the Edge" (Seasons 1-4 only) Country of origin Canada
Language(s) English No. of seasons 5 No. of episodes 42 Production Producer(s) David McKillop
Running time 45–48 minutes Production company(s) Original Productions Distributor A&E Television Networks Broadcast Original channel History Original run June 17, 2007– present External links Website
In 2000, History aired a 46-minute episode titled "Ice Road Truckers" as part of the Suicide Missions (later Dangerous Missions) series. Based on the book Denison's Ice Road by Edith Iglauer, the episode detailed the treacherous job of driving trucks over frozen lakes, also known as ice roads, in Canada's Northwest Territories. After 2000, reruns of the documentary were aired as an episode of the series Modern Marvels instead. Under this banner, the Ice Road Truckers show garnered very good ratings.
In 2006, The History Channel hired Thom Beers, owner of Original Productions and executive producer of Deadliest Catch, to create a series based on the Ice Road book. Shot in high definition (although the season ended before History HD was launched in the US), the show "charts two months in the lives of six extraordinary men who haul vital supplies to diamond mines and other remote locations over frozen lakes that double as roads". During the finale of the show's first season of 10 episodes, The History Channel aired a promo for season 2 which began airing on June 8, 2008. Season 1 of Ice Road Truckers was shown on the British national commercial channel Channel Five in February/March 2008. In Australia it aired on Austar and Foxtel in early 2008 and from June 18 it also began being shown on Network Ten. In autumn 2008 season one aired on RTL 7 in The Netherlands.
The second season premiered on June 8, 2008 in the US; October 9, 2008 on History in the UK and in Australia; November 12, 2008 in New Zealand; and January 7, 2009 on Channel 5 in the UK. The first season was not aired in Canada until March 4, 2009 on History Television.
The third season premiered on May 31, 2009 in the US; September 10 in the UK. Channel Five debuted series 3 on January 5, 2010.
The series' premiere was seen by 3.4 million viewers to become the most-watched original telecast in the History Channel's 12-year history at that time. Among critics, Adam Buckman of The New York Post said, "Everything about 'Ice Road Truckers' is astonishing". Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times said, "Watching these guys ... make their runs, it’s hard not to share in their cold, fatigue and horrible highway hypnosis, that existential recognition behind the wheel late at night that the pull of sleep and the pull of death are one and the same. ... [I]t gets right exactly what Deadliest Catch got right, namely that the leave-nothing-but-your-footprints, green kind of eco-travelers are too mellow and conscientious to be interesting to watch. Instead, the burly, bearded, swearing men who blow methyl hydrate into their own transmissions and welcome storms as breaks from boredom ... are much better television." During 2007 the series was shown in the UK, Australia and various countries in Africa.
By series completion it was clear that the truck falling through the ice was only a special effect, a fact that caused some grumbling among the truckers. Still, the series is a rare occasion in reality television where the cast seem pleased with the outcome.
Season 1 Drivers
A very rough-around-the-edges 20-year veteran of ice-road trucking, Hugh (born 1957) is based in Kelowna in southern British Columbia. He claims to be known by the Ice Road trucking community as "The Polar Bear," which he says is a reference to his strong personality, bearish attitude, stamina and consistently high number of loads delivered per season. Hugh owns four trucks and drives one while the other three are manned by ice road rookies Drew Sherwood and Todd White, as well as friend and year-round employee Rick Yemm. Hugh's trucks all have the emblem R&R Hoe Service on the doors - the company Hugh owns in Kelowna (actually Winfield, BC).
During the course of Season 1, all three of Hugh's hired drivers end up prematurely leaving the ice road for reasons such as banishment for excessive speeding in Todd's case, to heated disagreements as to the working condition of Hugh's trucks in Rick's case. In Drew's case it was several break downs. Hugh's truck is called "The Crow's Nest" and is kept in good condition as was Rick's truck, besides the heater. The trucks driven by Drew Sherwood and Todd White have a multitude of mechanical problems. After Drew's departure, Hugh hires a 4th driver named Danny Reese. In the final episode of the first season, Hugh's luck finally runs out when his truck is sideswiped by another trucker on the ice road, knocking a driving axle off the chassis. He ends up finishing the season in the truck originally driven by Rick.
One of Hugh Rowland's employees, this brash, tattooed trucker, also from Kelowna, was in his second year as an Ice Road trucker during Season 1. In 2006, Rick was one of the first truckers onto the Ice Road after it opened when, according to him, the sound of cracking ice was loudest. This stressful experience almost caused him to quit driving the Ice Road right then and there. He decided to continue, however, remarking, "I was too stupid and too stubborn to quit."
During Season 1, the floor heater in his truck was malfunctioning. This was a major source of tension between Hugh, the truck's owner, and Rick, who expected Hugh to take care of the problem so that he could continue hauling loads without risking severe frostbite. Rick ultimately quit and returned home, feeling that his friend was not fulfilling his responsibilities to maintain the trucks.
Rick is known for being hard on the trucks by constantly beating on them. In one episode, Rick is seen bouncing up and down, pumping the fuel pedal up and down, and messing with the steering wheel, all the while facing the camera and saying "yee-haw motha fucker!"
A legend in the Ice Road trucking community, 2007 marked Debogorski's 26th year as an Ice Road trucker. Debogorski is the father of eleven children, has seven grandchildren, and is a year-round resident of Yellowknife. As stated in Season 1, being that he has been a staple driving the ice roads, it is something of a good-luck charm for Alex to pull the first load over the ice roads at the beginning of every season. (Polish Dębogorski means "coming from or living at Oak Mountain".)
In Season 2 he had to leave early because of illness (a pulmonary embolism).
Jay is also a year round resident of Yellowknife. Despite his relative youth, Westgard is considered by the Ice Road community as the most talented driver of his generation. Westgard is 25 years old. He began driving trucks at age 16, and owned his first truck by age 18; at the time of his introduction, Westgard had acquired a reputation as a driver who excels in hauling oversized loads. Because of his experience, he is entrusted with delivering some of the more demanding loads, such as a huge 48-ton ore scrubber. He also agrees to drive in a convoy (led by Mike Kimball) hauling vital jet fuel to remote Deline—a job most veterans would turn down because the trip is very risky.
A 21-year-old ice road rookie, Tilcox is vocal about how he hates the cold and ice, and explains that he is driving on the ice road for the experience, not the money. Tilcox has been trucking since age 16, and decided to try ice road trucking after seeing an advertisement in the paper. Early on he struggles with an older truck with no heat, but another driver grants Tilcox the use of his brand new Volvo truck leased to Trinity Transport. On his first run in the new truck, Tilcox gets in an accident before ever hitting the ice road due to the brake service line disconnecting from his trailer. Tilcox is ultimately cleared of responsibility and, after a delay, allowed back on the road.
After the accident Tilcox is injured while tying down a load, and several days later experiences severe abdominal pain which becomes so bad that he has to be flown out to receive medical care. Tilcox is able to return to the ice roads after being treated for his injuries. The expense of his treatment is highlighted on the show as a cause of concern for Tilcox. Despite his ordeals, Tilcox gains respect for the job and the people who do it, as well as self-satisfaction for having completed the entire season—a rare feat for a rookie. He leaves with the respect and admiration of his fellow ice road veterans.
Drew is a veteran trucker, but an Ice Road rookie. He joined Hugh Rowland’s team after answering an advertisement in the local newspaper. Early on, Drew expresses a high degree of confidence that he will have no problems adjusting from highway to ice driving. Hugh considers Drew an arrogant rookie and a "one year driver". In the series premiere, Drew states "I have no intention of going into a ditch, bro", which is soon followed by getting stuck in a ditch, giving him a humbling lesson in how much respect the ice road demands.
Drew's hard luck unfortunately did not stop here, and was plagued with a frustrating amount of mechanical problems. For starters, he loses his battery box and batteries (resulting in two days lost while a replacement box is fabricated on the spot), suffers a flat tire, and then experiences problems with his truck’s on-board computer that forces him to abandon a load on the roadside. Drew ends up driving the truck of expelled driver Todd White just to pick up where he left off, yet ends up suffering through problems in that truck as well. Hugh Rowland, the truck's owner, and Lee Parkenson, Hugh's mechanic, blamed many of these mechanical problems squarely on Drew himself. Drew ultimately decides enough is enough and leaves the ice roads to return home.
Season 1 support personnel
Tom is a dispatcher for Tli Cho Landtran in Yellowknife.
Rick is a projects manager for Tli Cho Landtran, and is responsible for scheduling client loads. He is seen responding to several accidents in the series. Rick has been working on the ice road for over 20 years.
Ken is an officer for Secure Check, the organization responsible for security and rules enforcement on the ice road. A first-time speeding ticket can result in a five-day suspension, while severe infractions (including excessive speed) can lead to a driver being banned for the rest of the season. Truck weights are also checked to make sure they will not over-stress the ice; a driver with an overweight truck can be fined several hundred dollars.
Lee operates a garage in Yellowknife. He is the busiest mechanic in the north and works with his apprentice Mark Chang.
Todd (aka Chains) worked for Hugh Rowland, comes from the eastern coast Canada and is a self proclaimed trucker and singer. He responded to an ad that Hugh placed, and was hired as part of his crew after a seven year absence from ice road trucking. One of the main reasons Todd returned to ice road trucking was the need for $20,000 to repair his own truck. Todd was banned from ice road trucking after a speeding violation where he was clocked at 63 km/h (39 mph) in a 40 km/h (25 mph) zone. Todd appealed, claiming that he missed a speed limit sign, but his appeal was denied. After Todd left, Drew drove his truck.
Shortly after Drew's departure, Hugh hired Danny to take over the truck vacated by Drew after it had finally received a new ECM. Danny quickly noticed that the truck "had its quirks," which included problems with the truck's turbo similar to those experienced with this truck by Drew.
Safety and Compliance Supervisor with Tli Cho Landtran. His job is to set up and hire all the drivers and trucks for the winter road and also to monitor and police the drivers on the road so that rules are not violated so that the truckers are not kicked off the road.
Season 2 Drivers
Alex, Hugh, Drew, and Rick take part in this season as "highway maggots"--rookies on the ice road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. The following experienced truckers are also profiled.
A 46-year-old native of Montreal, now a resident of Faro, Yukon, with 26 years of experience on this ice road. As a result, he is often entrusted with loads that are heavy or hard to handle, such as a derrick in the season premiere. He also does much of his own maintenance and repair work and is used to the cold weather, stating that he can be comfortable in a denim jacket even at −30 °F (−34 °C).
Born in Saskatchewan, Bear is a 59-year-old resident of British Columbia and a six-year ice road veteran. He has worked most of his life as a truck driver in the logging industry, with some actual logging experience as well. When not working on the ice roads, he works as a professional bear hunting guide. Like Eric, he frequently pulls heavier-than-average loads.
Season 2 Support Personnel
Doug is the operations manager for E. Gruben's Transport, the company that hires Alex and Rick. He considers Rick to be one of his more "high-maintenance" drivers, in terms of Rick's rough handling of the trucks and frequent complaints about the work environment.
The chief mechanic at the Gruben's freight yard in Tuktoyaktuk, he finds himself repairing Rick's trucks several times during the season. As a result, his opinion of Rick as a trucker steadily deteriorates from week to week.
The "truck push" for Mullen Transportation, he takes responsibility for the truckers' safety and delivery of their loads. He states in the season premiere that he will never send someone else to do a job that he is not willing to do himself. When an entire drilling operation must be moved from one site to another, he deals with the logistics and equipment dismantling, as well as the delay caused by a winter storm that strikes the area.
A foreman on the Northwind ice road construction crew, he looks after the trucks when the road is closed, and also stands ready to respond to any distress calls that come in. In the season premiere, he describes an incident from the previous year in which his truck broke through the ice. Oversized loads, such as a survival shack hauled by Eric, sometimes require his help to get from the edge of town to the freight yard. His cousin Isaac drives with Hugh to get some road experience before taking the written exam for his truck driver's license.
A veteran driver in Inuvik, Kelly works for Matco Transportation, the second company that hires Drew shortly after the season begins. He rides with Drew on a training run to help him get used to driving the Arctic ice roads. Kelly grew up in Montreal and began driving trucks in 1983; he has worked the ice roads since 1993.
The manager of Matco's Inuvik branch office, Jordan was raised in Alberta and began working as a truck driver in 1979. He has driven and worked in Inuvik since 1989.
A rookie driver on the ice roads who works for Mullen, Devon is called in to help move equipment off the Langley site late in the season. Due to the poor condition of the road at this time, he must contend with hazards such as breaks in the surface and water overflows from beneath the ice.
Season 3 Drivers
A 38-year-old veteran driver and Virginia native, Jack has 15 years of ice road trucking experience to his credit. He has earned a reputation as a "heavy hauler" who specializes in moving massive and/or oversized loads. In his introduction on the show's Web site, he offers this opinion about driving the Alaska roads: “You learn the road really fast… or you end up dead.”
George, 59, is a respected veteran driver in Alaska. He has been driving the ice roads for 30 years and helping rookies get used to the hazards. In the season premiere, he remarks about an incident in which he flipped his own truck over a cliff one year. He intends to retire at the end of the season.
A former school bus driver and state freestyle motocross champion, Lisa is starting her second year on the ice roads. At 28, she is the youngest female driver this year, hoping to earn the veterans' respect and become Carlile's first female heavy hauler. In Season 4, she stated that she had to sell the first horse she ever kept as a pet and was trying to earn enough money to buy it back, a goal she eventually accomplished.
Tim Freeman, Jr.
A 23-year-old ice road rookie from Blackduck, Minnesota, Tim is a fourth-generation trucker with several years of over-the-road driving experience. Family friend George Spears has been helping him prepare for the challenge of driving Alaska's roads.
The son and grandson of truckers in his native Louisiana, Hall, a 45-year-old African American, is known on the Alaskan ice as "Big Daddy" and is universally respected for his professionalism. He appears in one episode, driving with Jack to deliver a pair of enormous storage tanks.
Season 4 Drivers
Alex, Hugh, Jack, and Lisa continue driving the Dalton Highway in this season, and Carey appears in two episodes to help the other truckers bring exceptionally heavy loads up from Anchorage. Two new truckers are also featured.
At 27, Greg is starting his second season with Carlile, after his first one ended early due to overturning his truck. He is grateful that his employers have given him another chance; at the same time, he feels that he has a long way to go in order to regain their full trust.
Ray, 44, ran his own construction business in Kalispell, Montana until it failed as a result of the U.S. housing industry crash. He signed on with Carlile and has worked his way up from freight yard duty to making ice road runs.
Season 5 Drivers
Alex, Hugh, and Rick Yemm (from seasons 1 and 2) return to Canada for this season to drive the ice roads in Manitoba. Lisa and three other truckers haul freight on the Dalton, and Carey Hall appears in two episodes to deliver heavy loads.
Dave, 45, is an Alabama native with 25 years of over-the-road trucking experience. In 2010, he, Rick, and Lisa spent two months hauling loads on the dangerous roads in India (see IRT: Deadliest Roads, below). This season marks his first year of ice road trucking, but he is ultimately fired due to concerns about his driving performance and attitude toward other truckers.
Tony is a 19-year veteran of the ice roads. In the season premiere, he describes a recent accident in which he had to swerve into a ditch to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming rookie driver. His truck still took a glancing blow, scattering debris which he later returns to pick up; by season's end, the truck is repaired and put back in service.
Maya is a 27-year-old resident of New York City, with three years' trucking experience on its roads. Like Dave, this is her first year on the ice.
Season 1 episodes
“ At the top of the world, there's an outpost like no other…and a job only a few would dare. The mission: To haul critical supplies across 350 miles of frozen lakes to Canada's remote billion-dollar diamond mines. The challenge: to transport 10,000 loads in 60 days—before the road disappears. The rewards are great; the risks even greater. These are the men who make their living on thin ice. ”
—Thom Beers, opening of the show, season 1
The series premiered on June 17, 2007. Six ice road truckers are introduced, and ice road truckers are described as men driving eighteen wheelers who haul equipment and supplies from Yellowknife, Canada, across a temporary road composed of portages and frozen lakes, the destination being one of three diamond mines northeast of Yellowknife. The final episode in season one premiered on August 19, 2007.
The season turns out to be one of the most successful seasons so far, with 10,922 loads totaling 331,000 tonnes (730 million pounds, or 365,000 U.S. tons) delivered. (Note: The total shown on screen is 662,000,000 pounds, corresponding to 331,000 US tons.)
Ice Road Load Count The Count Hugh Alex Jay T.J. Rick
Tons 722 648 542 374 369 363 Estimated Cash 58.4K 57.0K 57.5K 37.0K 28.0K 19.0K Loads 37 36 35 23 19 13
Three additional one-hour specials ran in the weeks following "The Final Run." Then and Now premiered on August 26, 2007 and provided a look into the development and future of Canada's ice roads. Clips from season 1 were featured, as well as further commentary from Hugh, Alex, and road pioneer John Denison. Off the Ice premiered on September 2, 2007, bringing all six truckers together for a chance to express their thoughts about the job and each other. On the Edge premiered on September 9, 2007, continuing the discussion and exploring the truckers' lives during the off season.
A fourth special, The Road to Season 2, aired on June 1, 2008. This hour presented highlights from the first season and gave a preview of things to come in the second one.
Season 2 episodes
“ At the top of the world, there's an outpost like no other…and a job only a few would dare. The ice men return: two titans of the southern ice roads, and two contenders. Last season they drove loaded semis on frozen lakes…this year, the Arctic Ocean. Deeper into the deep freeze. Further out on thinner ice. The new mission: to haul the heavy metal of natural gas drilling rigs up a frozen river and across ice-choked seas. Ice road truckers have come to the edge of the earth. These are the men who make their living on thin ice. ”
—Thom Beers, opening of the show, season 2
The season premiere aired on June 8, 2008. As the ice road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk is completed, drivers converge on Inuvik for the start of the year's transport season. Alex, Hugh, Rick, and Drew find themselves lumped in with the other "highway maggots" - the local drivers' term for rookies on this road - and must adapt to new rules and conditions. The road takes them up the Mackenzie River and over parts of the Arctic Ocean, with long stretches in which drivers are out of radio contact. The final regular episode premiered on September 7, 2008.
Final load counts for the season were:
- Drew — 9; spent most of the season driving on pavement in Inuvik
- Alex — 22 as stated in "A Trucker's Farewell"; left early for medical reasons
- Rick — 51; fired on the last day of the season
- Bear — 63; hauled a total of 4 million pounds, probably the most of any driver this season
- Eric — 67
- Hugh — 68
Off the Ice
Premiered on September 21, 2008. This episode provides a look back at the events of the season, with additional commentary from the truckers and support personnel. Topics covered include:
- Development of Canada's ice roads in general, and of commerce along the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road in particular
- Building the road and outfitting trucks to drive along it
- The truckers' personal motivations for working in the Arctic and comparisons between there and Yellowknife
- Each group's opinions about the other (northern and southern drivers)
- Truckers' comments about key events of the season: Drew quitting after one day, Alex leaving due to health problems, Rick's personnel disagreements and firing, Hugh hauling sewage for most of his runs
Season 3 episodes
“ At the top of the world, there's a job only a few would dare. Last season, the dash for the cash was fought on the smooth playing field of Canada's Arctic ice. This season, two old pros join four of America's bravest truckers to tackle the tundra's deadliest ice passage. Just when you thought extreme trucking couldn't get more dangerous, ice road truckers take on Alaska. These are the truckers who make their living on thin ice. ”
—Thom Beers, opening of the show, season 3
The season premiered on May 31, 2009. The Dalton Highway (Alaska Route 11) serves as a major ice road to bring supplies nearly 500 miles from Fairbanks to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and offshore rigs. However, the combination of avalanches, strong Arctic winds leading to whiteouts, and unforgiving terrain has led to hundreds of accidents in past years. Six thousand loads must be moved up the road within 12 weeks before the ice melts.
The season finale aired on August 23, 2009.
Final load counts:
- Jack - 20
- George - 15
- Lisa - 15
- Hugh - 14
- Alex - 13
- Tim - 11
Season 4 episodes
“ At the top of the world, there's a job only a few would dare. The ice road truckers are back. Last year, they chased their fortunes over the frozen gauntlet of the Dalton. But this season, Alaska's most fearsome road is just the beginning, as the new riders of the last frontier head off the Dalton and over the frozen rivers of Alaska's outback. This year, the ice road truckers finally break through. ”
—Thom Beers, opening of the show, season 4
This season premiered on June 6, 2010. The truckers continue driving the Dalton Highway, carrying freight between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. However, they are also expected to take loads to the small towns of Bettles and Nuiqsut, which can only be reached by driving over frozen rivers and swamps.
Season 5 episodes
This season follows drivers on two roads. Hugh, Rick, and Alex return to Canada to drive in Manitoba, delivering supplies to isolated communities that will be cut off once the ice melts. Meanwhile, Lisa and veteran Tony Molesky transport loads on the Dalton Highway, along with newcomers Dave Redmon and Maya Sieber.
Ice road route, stops and destinations
Season 1 (Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road)
- Dome Lake Camp - A maintenance camp, 22 miles (35 km) past the start of the ice portion of the road. T.J. is forced to stop here when his injury flares up; he is then airlifted back to Yellowknife for treatment.
- Lockhart Lake Rest Stop - Provides catering and other services for truckers.
- De Beers Snap Lake Diamond Mine ~200 km Northeast of Yellowknife.
- Diavik Diamond Mine ~200 miles (300 km) North of Yellowknife.
- BHP Ekati Diamond Mine ~200 miles (300 km) Northeast of Yellowknife - The northernmost stop seen on camera during this season. The road continues roughly 125 miles (200 km) past here, serving two additional mines and stopping at the north end of Contwoyto Lake.
- Colomac Mine - A closed gold mine that was recently cleaned up due to the risk the mine’s toxic materials presented to the environment. Now that the cleanup is finished, truckers (including Alex) are being called in to haul away equipment.
- Tundra Mine - A gold mine that stopped production in 1968 and is now undergoing environmental cleanup. Equipment from the Colomac Mine is being transferred here to assist workers with the cleanup.
- Deline, Northwest Territories - A small village, on the shore of the Great Bear Lake, that depends on jet fuel shipments over the ice road to keep its airport operating.
Season 2 (Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road)
- Inuvik, Northwest Territories - Loads are assigned here to be transported north.
- Mallik - An exploration site that encompasses fields of natural gas hydrates. By the end of the season, the crews working here succeed in extracting gas from these formations.
- Aput - A natural gas exploration site set up by MGM Energy; later found to contain no significant deposits, whereupon the entire camp is moved 50 miles to Langley (see below).
- Langley - MGM's second and last exploration site of the year; proves to hold sizable deposits.
- Aklavik, Northwest Territories - A small hamlet, on the Mackenzie River delta, that depends on the ice road for delivery of needed supplies.
- Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories - Loads are assigned here to be transported south.
- Wurmlinger and Arctic Star - Two ice-locked barges that serve as headquarters for crews in the field. In the summer the Wurmlinger carries goods around.
Season 3 (Dalton Highway)
- Fairbanks, Alaska - Home of Carlile Transportation, the main trucking company featured in Season 3.
- Coldfoot, Alaska - Home of the only rest stop on the Dalton Highway, serving as a stopping point for truckers when bad weather closes the road.
- Deadhorse, Alaska - Northern terminus of the Dalton Highway. An ice road extends north from here over the Arctic Ocean, allowing truckers to reach the offshore oil rigs.
Season 4 (Dalton Highway)
The truckers make stops at Fairbanks, Coldfoot, and Deadhorse as in Season 3, as well as the following destinations:
- Bettles, Alaska - Located near the center of Alaska along the remains of the Hickel Highway, this small town is accessible only by driving over frozen swampland.
- Nuiqsut, Alaska - Located west of Deadhorse, Nuiqsut is accessible by an ice road connecting it to the Dalton Highway during the winter.
Season 5 (Dalton Highway/Manitoba)
This is the first season to focus on two different roads. Truckers in Alaska drive the Dalton, making stops at Fairbanks, Coldfoot, and Deadhorse as before. A second group hauls freight on the ice roads in Manitoba to re-supply isolated communities that have no other way to bring in materials.
The mining companies that owned the road where the first season was filmed felt that the show portrayed the road in a negative fashion. They felt that the show depicted drivers as cowboys making a mad dash for money and taking excessive risks to do so. Also the companies felt that the cameras and filming created distractions for the drivers (Drew walking to the back of the truck to get a coffee cup without stopping on camera). As a result, the owners decided not to participate in future seasons of the show. A new rule for the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Roads was enacted for the 2008 season, prohibiting commercial, media, video or rolling film cameras either inside or attached to the outside of vehicles. The show's producers located an alternate ice road for the second season of the show.
There were several differences in style between Season 1 and Seasons 2 and 3:
- A main theme of Season 1 was "the dash for the cash", which was rarely mentioned in Season 2, but is a main theme in Season 3.
- In Season 1, companies' insignia on trucks and men's safety helmets were routinely blurred out. In Season 2 they were left visible.
Season 2 premiered on June 8, 2008, following the drivers on the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada's Northwest Territories. Hugh, Alex, Drew, and Rick take part as "highway maggots" (rookies on this road), working alongside the more experienced drivers.
Season 3 of Ice Road Truckers covers the Dalton Highway, which connects Fairbanks, Alaska, Coldfoot, Alaska, and Deadhorse, Alaska near Prudhoe Bay, as well as ice roads constructed over the Arctic Ocean in the Prudhoe Bay area. The tagline for the season is "In the Dark Heart of Alaska, there's a road where hell has frozen over". In this season the 2009 Mount Redoubt eruptive activity caused complications; the truckers had to carry many loads which were intended for flight but the planes could not fly because of volcanic ash in the air.
Season 4 of Ice Road Truckers returns to the Dalton Highway in Alaska. In addition to the destinations from the earlier season (Fairbanks, Alaska, Coldfoot, Alaska, Deadhorse, Alaska, oilfields of Prudhoe Bay), the destinations of Bettles, Alaska and Nuiqsut, Alaska are added. Truckers Hugh Rowland, Alex Debogorski, Jack Jessee, and Lisa Kelly are joined by new drivers Greg Boadwine and Ray Vellieux.
The focus of this season is split between two locations. One group - Lisa Kelly, veteran Tony Molesky, and rookies Dave Redmon and Maya Sieber - drives the Dalton Highway, moving freight between Fairbanks and Prudhoe with occasional side trips to Nuiqsut and Anchorage, Alaska. Meanwhile, a second group - Hugh Rowland, Alex Debogorski, and Rick Yemm - returns to Canada to transport loads between Winnipeg, Manitoba and several remote communities.
IRT: Deadliest Roads - Season 1: Himalayas
On October 3, 2010, a spinoff series titled IRT: Deadliest Roads premiered immediately after the Season 4 finale. Rick Yemm, Alex Debogorski, and Lisa Kelly traveled to India and put their driving skills to the test on the narrow, treacherous mountain roads that lead from Delhi to Shimla, then up to the Karchan and Kuppa hydroelectric dam construction sites in the Himalayas. Alex quit in the first episode due to fear of angry mobs if he was involved in an accident, and was replaced by Alabama trucker Dave Redmon (who has since been featured in Season 5 of Ice Road Truckers). As the season continued, the drivers were dispatched to carry supplies over the stormy Rohtang Pass to the town of Keylong, which had been cut off for months due to the bad weather. The season finale aired on December 5, 2010, with the truckers attempting to deliver loads of jet fuel for helicopter crews who were working to rescue people stranded in the mountains by the storms. Rick and Dave turned back, deciding that the conditions were too hazardous for the volatile cargo; the next day, Lisa hauled the entire shipment herself and delivered it to the crews, becoming the only North American trucker to complete the entire season.
The roads were often hacked out of vertical cliffs like a tunnel with one side open to the air, with a rock overhang over and several hundred feet drop below. One part of the road was called "the Freefall Freeway".
In Episode 5 Lisa and Rick Yemm delivered two images (one each) (well packed with sandbags and sand and straw) of the goddess Kali (shown as treading on her husband Shiva) along a frightful mountain road hacked out of cliffsides to a temple at a town called Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh.
Early promotional spots for the series listed the title as IRT: Himalayas.
IRT: Deadliest Roads - Season 2: South America
The second season of IRT: Deadliest Roads premiered on September 25, 2011. Six North American drivers are sent to Bolivia to haul cargo along the Yungas Road, notorious for its extreme hazards. The drivers work in pairs - Hugh Rowland and Rick Yemm, Lisa Kelly and Dave Redmon, and newcomers Tim Zickuhr and Agustin "Tino" Rodriguez. Dave and Rick quit in Episode 2; Hugh continues driving alone, while Texas trucker G.W. Boles arrives to ride with Lisa in Episode 4. Starting with Episode 8, the truckers relocate to Peru and begin transporting loads to sites high in the Andes mountain range.
In 2008, Twentieth Century Fox acquired rights from the History Channel to create a scripted, theatrical action film based on the series. 
- ^ History.com About the Ice Road Truckers series
- ^ a b Kaplan, Don, "BACK ON THE 'ICE ROAD'", New York Post, April 2, 2008
- ^ "'Ice Road Truckers' debut sets The History Channel ratings records - Reality TV World - News, information, episode summaries, message boards, chat and games for unscripted television programs". Reality TV World. 2007-06-20. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/ice-road-truckers-debut-sets-history-channel-ratings-records-5383.php. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- ^ Buckman, Adam. "Slide Show: 'Ice Road Truckers' Take Thrilling Glide", The New York Post, June 23, 2007
- ^ Heffernan, Virginia, "Honk? No, Pray if You Hear a Loud Crack", The New York Times, June 22, 2007
- ^ "Working for Hugh". Hugh Rowland Official Site. http://www.iceroadtruckerhugh.com/index.asp?PageAction=CONTACTUS. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
- ^ Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road 2008 orientation materials http://jvtcwinterroad.ca/Orientation/Part4.PDF
- ^ "Producers find new ice road for TV series" (in English). Landline Magazine. Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. 2008-02-05. http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2008/Feb08/020408/020508-07.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- ^ "Frozen Tundra Trucking: Popular trucking show not on thin ice" (in English). Today's Trucking: The Online Business Resource For Canada's Trucking Industry. Newcom Business Media, Inc.. 2008-02-04. http://www.todaystrucking.com/news.cfm?intDocID=19044&CFID=3213725&CFTOKEN=70061081. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- ^ "Season 4 Truckers — Ice Road Truckers —". History.com. 2011-04-18. http://www.history.com/shows/ice-road-truckers/bios/season-4-truckers. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- ^ Fleming, Michael. "Fox drives 'Truckers' to bigscreen", Variety. February 12, 2008
- Alex Debogorski (26 October 2010). King of the Road: True Tales from a Legendary Ice Road Trucker. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 9780470643686. http://books.google.com/books?id=pPyh3oc9XpgC&pg=PP1.
- Official website, History Channel USA
- Official website, History Channel UK
- Official website, History Channel Canada
- Ice Road Truckers Fansite & Forum
- Ice Road Truckers at the Internet Movie Database (2000 documentary film)
- Ice Road Truckers at the Internet Movie Database
- Ice Road Truckers at the Internet Movie Database (IRT: Deadliest Roads)
- Ice Road Truckers at TV.com
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