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.

History

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".[1]

Airings

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.[2]

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).[3]

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.

Reception

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.[4] Among critics, Adam Buckman of the New York Post said, "Everything about 'Ice Road Truckers' is astonishing".[5] 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."[6] 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.[2]

Episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired
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

Truckers

Trucker Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Alex Debogorski Main
Hugh Rowland Main
Rick Yemm Main Main
Drew Sherwood Main
Jay Westgard Main
T.J. Tilcox Main
Bear Swensen Main
Eric Dufresne Main
Lisa Kelly Main Main
Jack Jessee Main Main
George Spears Main
Tim Freeman Jr. Main
Carey Hall Main
Greg Boadwine Main
Ray Veilleux Main Recurring
Dave Redmon Main
Tony Molesky Main
Maya Sieber Main
Darrell Ward Main
Austin Wheeler Main
Ronald Mangum Main
Art Burke Main
Todd Dewey Main
Joey Barnes Main Recurring
Mike Simmons Main
Steph Custance Main
Reno Ward Recurring Main

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 8

Season 9

Season X (10)

Season 11

Season 11 premiered August 24, 2017 on History.

Returning drivers

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

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".

Early promotional spots for the series listed the title as IRT: Himalayas.[citation needed]

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.

In February 2015, Tim Zickuhr pleaded guilty to kidnapping and extortion.[7][8]

Broadcast airings

Repeats of the Deadliest Roads series are currently airing on the digital broadcast network Quest.

Feature film

In 2008, 20th Century Fox acquired rights from the History Channel to create a scripted, theatrical action film based on the series.[9]

See also

References

Further reading

External links