Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers (commercially abbreviated IRT) is an American reality television series that premiered on History Channel, on June 17, 2007. It features the activities of drivers who operate trucks on seasonal routes crossing frozen lakes and rivers, in remote Arctic territories in Canada and Alaska. Seasons 3–6 also featured Alaska's improved but still remote Dalton Highway, which is mainly snow-covered solid ground. The newest seasons are mainly focused on Manitoba's winter roads. The series' eleventh season finished airing on November 9, 2017.
In 2000, History aired a 46-minute episode titled "Ice Road Truckers" as part of the Suicide Missions (later Dangerous Missions) series. Based on Edith Iglauer's book Denison's Ice Road, the episode details 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. In Italy the first season premiered on History Channel on January 7, 2010 as "Gli eroi del ghiaccio" (English: Heroes of the ice).
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 United Kingdom, Australia and various countries in Africa.
The show opening features a truck falling through the ice. While real accidents with fatal outcomes might be mentioned, the show has never featured them and indeed, the show opening is a miniature model filmed inside a studio. A season 1 rumor that the sequence was staged using a real truck and dynamite caused discontent among the drivers.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||June 17, 2007||August 19, 2007|
|2||13||June 8, 2008||September 7, 2008|
|3||13||May 31, 2009||August 23, 2009|
|4||16||June 6, 2010||October 3, 2010|
|5||16||June 5, 2011||September 25, 2011|
|6||16||June 3, 2012||September 23, 2012|
|7||12||June 9, 2013||August 25, 2013|
|8||12||July 7, 2014||September 28, 2014|
|9||10||August 2, 2015||October 18, 2015|
|10||10||August 4, 2016||October 6, 2016|
|11||10||August 24, 2017||November 9, 2017|
|Tim Freeman Jr.||Main|
Season X (10)
Season 11 premiered August 24, 2017 on History.
Debogorski, Dewey, Burke and Custance continue driving for Polar, and Kelly continues to run the company she and Darrell Ward founded. Darrell's son Reno Ward (Season 8) joins the cast in episode 5, helping Kelly repay a debt to Polar owner Mark Kohaykewych. Mark also drives a pilot car for an oversized load hauled by Kelly and Reno (episodes 5 and 6).
Route and destinations
- Manitoba/Ontario ice roads: One new destination added in Season 11: Kasabonika, Ontario.
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. Debogorski quit in the first episode due to fear of angry mobs if he were 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. Yemm and Redmon turned back, deciding that the conditions were too hazardous for the volatile cargo; the next day, Kelly 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 rock overhangs overhead and drops of several hundred feet below. One part of the road was called "the Freefall Freeway".
- In Episode 5: "Crumbling Roads", Kelly and Yemm delivered two images (one each, well-packed with sandbags, 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.
- In Episode 6: "Thin Air", they struggled with a worse road and altitude hypoxia on the Rohtang Pass, and one of them delivered an image of Buddha and some Buddhist scriptures to a Tibetan-type Buddhist monastery in the mountains.
Early promotional spots for the series listed the title as IRT: Himalayas.
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 Timothy R. Zickuhr and Augustin "Tino" Rodriguez. Redmon and Yemm quit in Episode 2; Rowland continues driving alone, while Texas trucker G.W. Boles arrives to ride with Kelly 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 episode 6, Kelly and Boles transport 32 breeding llamas across the Salar de Uyuni, the world's biggest salt flat, 12,000 ft (3,700 m) above sea level. On the way, their truck's radiator begins to leak; after they mend it, they must empty all their drinking water into the radiator to replace the loss. Abundant lithium deposits cause their magnetic compasses to read incorrectly, and for a time their GPS malfunctions.
Repeats of the Deadliest Roads series are currently airing on the digital broadcast network Quest.
- "About the Ice Road Truckers series". History.com.
- Kaplan, Don, "BACK ON THE 'ICE ROAD'", New York Post, April 2, 2008
- "Sat News #114 – Gennaio 2010 – I canali documentaristici e divulgativi Sky". January 14, 2010.
- "'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. June 20, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Slide Show: 'Ice Road Truckers' Take Thrilling Glide". New York Post. June 23, 2007. Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- Heffernan, Virginia, "Honk? No, Pray if You Hear a Loud Crack", The New York Times, June 22, 2007
- Press, The Associated (February 26, 2015). "'Ice Road Truckers' star gets prison for kidnapping, threatening prostitute". syracuse.
- "'Ice Road Truckers' Star Tim Zickuhr -- GUILTY of Prostitute Kidnapping". TMZ.
- Fleming, Michael. "Fox drives 'Truckers' to bigscreen", Variety. February 12, 2008
- Debogorski, Alex (October 26, 2010). King of the Road: True Tales from a Legendary Ice Road Trucker. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-64368-6.
- Rowland, Hugh (June 8, 2010). On Thin Ice: Breakdowns, Whiteouts, and Survival on the World's Deadliest Roads. Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4013-2368-4. (with Michael Lent)