Ice Road Truckers

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Ice Road Truckers
Genre Reality
  • Current drivers
  • Alex Debogorski
    (Season 1 – Present)
  • Lisa Kelly
    (Season 3 – 5, 7 – Present)
  • Art Burke
    (Season 7 – Present)
  • Todd Dewey
    (Season 7 – Present)
  • Steph Custance
    (Season 10 - Present)
  • Reno Ward
    (Season 8, season 11)
  • Former drivers
  • Hugh Rowland
    (Season 1 – 8)
  • Rick Yemm
    (Season 1 – 2, season 5 – 6)
  • Jay Westgard
    (Season 1)
  • T.J. Tilcox
    (Season 1)
  • Drew Sherwood
    (Season 1 – 2)
  • Eric Dufresne
    (Season 2)
  • Bear Swensen
    (Season 2)
  • Jack Jessee
    (Season 3 – 4, season 6)
  • George Spears
    (Season 3)
  • Tim Freeman
    (Season 3)
  • Carey Hall
    (Season 3 – 6)
  • Greg Boadwine
    (Season 4)
  • Ray Veilleux
    (Season 4, season 6)
  • Dave Redmon
    (Season 5)
  • Tony Molesky
    (Season 5)
  • Maya Sieber
    (Season 5)
  • Austin Wheeler
    (Season 6)
  • Ronald "Porkchop" Mangum
    (Season 6)
  • Joey Barnes
    (Season 7 – 9)
  • Mike Simmons
    (Season 9)
  • Darrell Ward Ϯ (Season 6 — 10)
Narrated by Thom Beers
Tom Cotcher (UK)
Theme music composer Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson
Opening theme "Livin' on the Edge" by Aerosmith (Seasons 1 – 4 only)
Country of origin Canada
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 10
No. of episodes 128 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) David McKillop
Dolores Gavin
Thom Beers
Philip Segal
Dawn Fitzgerald
Adam Martin
Aron Plucinski
Running time 45 – 48 minutes
Production company(s) Original Productions
Prospero Media (season 8)
Shaw Media (season 8)
Distributor A+E Networks
Original network History
Original release June 17, 2007 (2007-06-17) – present
External links

Ice Road Truckers (commercially abbreviated IRT) is a reality television series that premiered on History, 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. Later series focused on Alaska's improved but still remote Dalton Highway, which is mainly snow-covered solid ground. The newest seasons are based on Manitoba's winter roads.


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]


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.

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



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 Ϯ Aug 28th, 2016 Main
Austin Wheeler Main
Ronald Mangum Main
Art Burke Main
Todd Dewey Main
Joey Barnes Main Recurring
Reno Ward Recurring Main
Mike Simmons Main
Steph Custance Main

Season 1[edit]

The mining companies that owned the road where the first season was filmed felt the show portrayed the road in a negative fashion. They believed the show depicted drivers as cowboys making a mad dash for money and taking excessive risks to do so. Also, the companies felt the cameras and filming created distractions for the drivers. As a result, the owners decided not to participate in future seasons of the show, and 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. In response, the show's producers located an alternate ice road for season 2.[6][7][8]

There were several differences in style among Seasons 1, 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.[9]
  • In Season 1, companies' insignia on trucks and men's safety helmets were routinely blurred out. In Season 2, they were left visible.


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 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, to one of three diamond mines northeast of Yellowknife. The final episode in season one premiered on August 19, 2007.

The season has been of the most successful 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.)[citation needed]

The beginning of the Ingraham Trail leading to the winter road Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Ice road load count
The count Rowland Debogorski Westgard Tilcox Yemm
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 Rowland, Debogorski, 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.[citation needed]


  • Hugh 'The Polar Bear' Rowland (born 1957): A very rough-around-the-edges, 20-year veteran of ice-road trucking, based in Kelowna in southern British Columbia. He is of French descent and claims to be known by the ice road trucking community as "The Polar Bear", which he says refers to his strong personality, bearish attitude, stamina, and consistently high number of loads delivered per season. Rowland owns four trucks and drives one; the other three are manned by ice road rookies Drew Sherwood, Todd White, and Rowland's friend and year-round employee Rick Yemm. Rowland's trucks all have the emblem R&R Hoe Service on the doors - the company Rowland owns in Kelowna (actually Winfield, BC[10]).

During the course of Season 1, all three of Rowland's hired drivers end up prematurely leaving the ice road. White was banished for excessive speeding,[citation needed] Yemm left following heated disagreements about the working condition of Rowland's trucks,[citation needed] and Sherwood left after several vehicle breakdowns.[citation needed]

Rowland's truck is called "The Crow's Nest" and is kept in good condition, as was Yemm's truck, besides the heater.[citation needed] The trucks driven by Sherwood and White had a multitude of mechanical problems. After Sherwood's departure, Rowland hired a fourth driver named Danny Reese. In the final episode of the first season, Rowland's luck finally ran out when his truck was sideswiped by another trucker on the ice road, knocking a driving axle off the chassis. He ended up finishing the season in the truck originally driven by Yemm.

Rick Yemm at Truckfest at Haydock Park Racecourse, England, September 12, 2009.
  • Rick Yemm: One of 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, Yemm 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 Rowland, the truck's owner, and Yemm, who expected Rowland to take care of the problem so that he could continue hauling loads without risking severe frostbite. Yemm ultimately quit and returned home, feeling his friend was not fulfilling his responsibilities to maintain the trucks.

Yemm is known for being hard on the trucks by constantly beating on them. In one episode, Yemm is seen bouncing up and down, pumping the accelerator pedal up and down, and messing with the steering wheel, all the while facing the camera and saying "yee-haw motha fucker!"[citation needed]

Alex Debogorski at Truckfest South West UK 2011
  • Alex Debogorski: A legend in the ice road trucking community, and 2007 marked Debogorski's 26th year as an ice road trucker. Debogorski has 11 children and nine grandchildren, and is a year-round resident of Yellowknife. As stated in Season 1, since he has been a staple driving the ice roads, it is something of a good-luck charm for Debogorski to pull the first load over the ice roads at the beginning of every season. He is such a devout Catholic that by season 9, when he joined long-time rival Hugh Rowland's company in Canada, Debogorski had "The Preacher Man" emblazoned on the side of his truck. (Polish Dębogórski means "coming from or living at Oak Mountain".)

In Season 2, Debogorski had to leave early because of illness (a pulmonary embolism).[citation needed]

  • Jay Westgard: Westgard is also a year-round resident of Yellowknife. Despite his relative youth (he is 25 years old), Westgard is considered by the ice road community as the most talented driver of his generation.[citation needed] He began driving trucks at age 16 and owned his first truck by age 18; at the time of his introduction on IRT, 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 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.
  • T.J. Tilcox: 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 newspaper. Early on he struggles with an older truck that lacks 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's 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.[citation needed] He leaves with the respect and admiration of his fellow ice road veterans.

  • Drew Sherwood: Sherwood is a veteran trucker but an ice road rookie. He joined Rowland’s team after answering an advertisement in the local newspaper. Early on, Sherwood expresses a high degree of confidence that he will have no problems adjusting from highway to ice driving. Rowland considers Sherwood an arrogant rookie and a "one year driver". In the series premiere, Sherwood states: "I have no intention of going into a ditch, bro", after which he soon gets stuck in a ditch, a humbling lesson in how much respect the ice road demands.[citation needed]

Sherwood's hard luck, unfortunately, did not stop there, and he 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. Sherwood 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.[citation needed] Hugh Rowland, the truck's owner, and Lee Parkinson, Rowland's mechanic, blamed many of these mechanical problems squarely on Sherwood. Sherwood ultimately decides enough is enough and leaves the ice roads to return home.

Support personnel[edit]

  • Tom Tweed: Tweed is a dispatcher for Tli Cho Landtran in Yellowknife.
  • Rick Fitch: Fitch is a projects manager for Tli Cho Landtran, responsible for scheduling client loads. He is seen responding to several accidents in the series. Fitch has been working on the ice road for over 20 years.
  • Ken Murray: Murray 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's being banned for the rest of the season. Truck weights are also checked to ensure they will not over-stress the ice; a driver with an overweight truck can be fined several hundred dollars.
  • Lee Parkinson: Parkinson operates a garage in Yellowknife. He is the busiest mechanic in the north[citation needed] and works with his journeyman Mark Chang.
  • Todd White: White (aka "Chains") worked for Hugh Rowland. He comes from Canada's eastern coast, and is a self-proclaimed trucker and singer. He responded to an ad that Rowland placed and was hired as part of his crew after a seven-year absence from ice road trucking. One of the main reasons White returned to ice road trucking was the need to earn $20,000 to repair his own truck. White 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. White appealed, claiming that he missed a speed limit sign, but his appeal was denied. After White left, Sherwood drove his truck.
  • Danny Reese: Shortly after Sherwood's departure, Rowland hired Reese to take over the truck vacated by Sherwood after it had finally received a new ECM[clarification needed]. Reese quickly noticed that the truck "had its quirks", which included problems with the truck's turbo similar to those Sherwood had experienced with this truck.
  • Neil McDougall: 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 to monitor and police the drivers on the road so that rules are not violated and the truckers are not kicked off the road.

Route and destinations[edit]

Snap Lake Diamond Mine portal, 40-ton haul truck exiting, winter.
  • Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road: the first portion of the road is on pavement, following the Ingraham Trail for roughly 60 km (37 mi) until it reaches the shore of Tibbitt Lake.
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: loads are assigned here.
  • Dome Lake Camp: a maintenance camp, located 22 mi (35 km) past the start of the ice portion of the winter road. Tilcox is forced to stop here when his injury flares up; he is then airlifted back to Yellowknife for treatment.[citation needed]
  • Lockhart Lake Rest Stop: provides catering and other services for truckers.
  • De Beers Snap Lake Diamond Mine: about 220 km (140 mi) northeast of Yellowknife.[11]
  • Diavik Diamond Mine: about 300 mi (480 km) north of Yellowknife.[12]
  • BHP Ekati Diamond Mine: about 310 km (190 mi) northeast of Yellowknife,[13] the northernmost stop seen on camera during this season. The road continues roughly 125 mi (201 km) past here, serving two defunct mines and stopping at the north end of Contwoyto Lake in Nunavut.
  • 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 Debogorski) 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 Great Bear Lake, that depends on jet fuel shipments over the ice road to keep its airport operating.

Season 2[edit]

Season 2 premiered on June 8, 2008, following the drivers on the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road, a 194 km (121 mi) extension of the Dempster Highway between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada's Northwest Territories. Rowland, Debogorski, Sherwood, and Yemm take part as "highway maggots" (rookies on this road), working alongside the more experienced drivers.


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. Debogorski, Rowland, Yemm, and Sherwood 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, visiting Aput and Later Langley rigs with long stretches in which drivers are out of radio contact. The final regular episode premiered on September 7, 2008.

The Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road.

Final load counts for the season were:

  • Sherwood — 9; spent most of the season driving on pavement in Inuvik
  • Debogorski — 22 as stated in "A Trucker's Farewell"; left early for medical reasons
  • Yemm — 51; fired on the last day of the season
  • Swensen — 63; hauled a total of 4 million pounds, probably the most of any driver this season
  • Dufresne — 67
  • Rowland — 68

Off the ice[edit]

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: Sherwood quitting after one day, Debogorski leaving due to health problems, Yemm's personnel disagreements and firing, Rowland hauling sewage for most of his runs


Debogorski, Rowland, Sherwood, and Yemm take part in this season as "highway maggots"—rookies on the ice road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. The following experienced truckers are also profiled.

  • Eric Dufresne: 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).
  • Bear Swensen: Born in Saskatchewan, Swensen 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 Dufresne, he frequently pulls heavier-than-average loads.

Support personnel[edit]

Jordan Fedosoff: The manager of Matco's Inuvik branch office, Fedosoff was born in Saskatchewan and raised between the fields of Saskatchewan and the city of Montreal. He began working in the trucking industry in 1981. He has driven and worked in Inuvik since 1995. He has vast experience in the Mackenzie Valley and the Dempster Highway. Sherwood worked for him in season 2.

Doug Saunders: Saunders is the operations manager for E. Gruben's Transport, the company that hires Debogorski and Yemm. He considers Yemm to be one of his more "high-maintenance" drivers, in terms of Yemm's rough handling of the trucks and frequent complaints about the work environment.

Shaun Lundrigan: The chief mechanic at the Gruben's freight yard in Tuktoyaktuk, he finds himself repairing Yemm's trucks several times during the season. As a result, his opinion of Yemm as a trucker steadily deteriorates from week to week.

Jerry Dusdal: 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.

Davey Lennie: 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 Dufresne, sometimes require his help to get from the edge of town to the freight yard. His cousin Isaac drives with Rowland to get some road experience before taking the written exam for his truck driver's license.

Kelly Brown: A veteran driver in Inuvik, Kelly works for Matco Transportation, the second company that hires Sherwood shortly after the season begins. He rides with Sherwood on a training run to help him get used to driving the Arctic ice roads. Brown grew up in Montreal and began driving trucks in 1983; he has worked the ice roads since 1993.

Devon Neff: A rookie driver on the ice roads who works for Mullen, Neff 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.

Route and destinations[edit]

The Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk.

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[edit]


Season 3 of Ice Road Truckers covers the Dalton Highway, which connects Fairbanks, Alaska, Coldfoot, Alaska, and Deadhorse, Alaska near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 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.


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 only road link between Alaska's populated areas down south and the oil rigs of the arctic north, to bring supplies nearly 500 mi (800 km) 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 on the Arctic Ocean.

The season finale aired on August 23, 2009.

Truck traffic on the Dalton Highway in 2004.

Final load counts:

  • Jessee - 20
  • Spears - 15
  • Kelly - 15
  • Rowland - 14
  • Debogorski - 13
  • Freeman - 11


Rowland and Debogorski take part in this season as newcomers to the Dalton Highway in Alaska, working alongside the following local drivers at Carlile Transportation.

  • Jack Jessee: A 38-year-old veteran driver and Virginia native, Jessee 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 website, he offers this opinion about driving the Alaska roads: "You learn the road really fast… or you end up dead."[citation needed]
  • George Spears: Spears, 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.
  • Lisa Kelly: A former school bus driver and state Freestyle Motocross champion, Kelly is starting her second year on the ice roads. At 28, she is the youngest female driver this year, and hopes 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, Freeman 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.
  • Carey Hall: 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 Jessee to deliver a pair of enormous storage tanks.[citation needed]
  • Phil Kromm: A 15-year veteran fuel-hauler from Alaska,[14] Phil is also in charge of safety, recruitment, and driver training to get rookie drivers accustomed to the Dalton Highway (most notably Rowland in season 3). He also is Lane's adviser on rookie progression. Despite his never being a main character in any of the future series, he plays a vital role in rookie training and has a hand in determining some of the rookies' being fired.

Route and destinations[edit]

The E. L. Patton Yukon River Bridge carries the Dalton Highway over the Yukon River

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[edit]

Season 4 of Ice Road Truckers premiered on June 6, 2010 and returned to the Dalton Highway in Alaska. In addition to the destinations from season 3 (Fairbanks, Coldfoot, Deadhorse, and oilfields of Prudhoe Bay), the destinations of Bettles, Alaska and Nuiqsut, Alaska are added which can only be reached by driving over frozen rivers and swamps.


Debogorski, Rowland, Jessee, Hall, and Kelly continue driving the Dalton Highway in this season. Debogorski had a good season, stopping to help drivers in trouble on multiple occasions. Rowland spent the season trying to avoid the Department of Transport (DOT) checkpoint. Jessee was assigned some of the toughest loads, to be taken over some of the roughest roads. Kelly started out the season with goals to achieve; she wanted to try hauling heavier, bigger loads and have a go at push-truck driving; she also aimed to save enough money to buy back her horse. Both goals she eventually achieved. Two new truckers are also featured.[15]

  • Greg Boadwine: At 27, Boadwine is starting his second season with Carlile, after his first one ended early due to his overturning his truck. He is grateful that his employers have given him another chance; at the same time, he feels he has a long way to go in order to regain their full trust.
  • Ray Veilleux: Veilleux, 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.

Route and destinations[edit]

  • 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.

Final load counts[edit]

  • Veilleux - 19
  • Rowland - 18
  • Jessee - 17
  • Kelly - 17
  • Debogorski - 16
  • Boadwine - 11

Season 5[edit]

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.


This season follows drivers on two roads. Rowland, Yemm, and Debogorski return to Canada to drive in Manitoba, delivering supplies to isolated communities that will be cut off once the ice melts. Meanwhile, Kelly and veteran Tony Molesky transport loads on the Dalton Highway, along with newcomers Dave Redmon and Maya Sieber.


Debogorski, Rowland, and Yemm (from seasons 1 and 2) return to Canada for this season to drive the ice roads in Manitoba. Kelly and three other truckers haul freight on the Dalton, and Hall appears in two episodes to deliver heavy loads. Kromm also returns to train rookie drivers, notably Redmon and Sieber; Kromm has a hand in advising Lane to fire Redmon.

  • Dave Redmon: Redmon, 45, is an Alabama native with 25 years of over-the-road trucking experience. In 2010, he, Yemm, and Kelly 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 Molesky: Molesky 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 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 Sieber: Sieber is a 27-year-old resident of New York City, with three years' trucking experience on its roads. Like Redmon, this is her first year on the ice.

Route and destinations[edit]

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.

Season 6[edit]

The focus of this season is split among three locations: Canada's Dempster Highway (connecting the Yukon and Northwest Territories), Manitoba, and the Dalton Highway in Alaska.

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski, Rowland, and Yemm continue driving in Canada for this season, moving cargo along the Dempster Highway (Debogorski) and Manitoba's winter roads (Rowland and Yemm). Jessee (seasons 3 and 4) returns to drive the Dalton along with three newcomers, and Hall appears in one episode to help move a modular building up from Fairbanks. Near the end of the season, Veilleux (season 4) is called in to help transport the last loads up to Prudhoe Bay. Molesky and Kromm are involved in training drivers new to driving on the Dalton highway for Carlile Transport' additionally, both Molesky and Kromm independently monitor other drivers' standards and behaviour, and advise the HR manager, Lane, if there are issues like those that led to "Porkchop"'s being fired.

New drivers[edit]

  • Darrell Ward (1964−2016): Coming to Alaska from Montana, Ward has 31 years of highway trucking experience, including driving logging trucks in the Rocky Mountains. This is his first year at Carlile, and he ends up coming second to Jack Jesse by one load. Darrell, easily one of IRT's most popular drivers ever, was killed in a plane crash at the age of 52 on August 28, 2016. Ward at the time was business partner with Lisa Kelly. The plane was piloted by Mark Melotz and it crashed near Rock Creek, Montana.
  • Austin Wheeler: Wheeler, 23, has been a Carlile employee for almost two years, transporting heavy loads in southern Alaska before transferring to the Fairbanks depot. While his season ended early towards the end due to engine power issues, he earned credit in saving Darrel when the latter was stranded in the middle of the season.
  • Ronald "Porkchop" Mangum: Mangum, 35, is a South Carolina trucker with 14 years of experience. Like Ward, he is starting his first season on the Dalton; he is fired near the end of the season due to concerns over his driving performance.

Season 7[edit]

The focus of this season is Manitoba's winter roads.

Returning drivers[edit]

Debogorski, Kelly, and Ward relocate to Manitoba for this season and begin driving for Polar Industries. Rowland returns as well, to start his own trucking company, VP Express. Three new drivers are also featured.

New drivers[edit]

  • Art Burke: Burke, a Yellowknife resident, has driven the diamond mine ice roads for 15 years. He originally signs on with VP Express to drive for Rowland but switches over to Polar, after being fired. He also brings the winning load for Polar by the end of the season.
  • Todd Dewey: Dewey, a logging trucker from Washington state, is starting his first year on the ice road to work for Rowland. He is also featured in Ax Men season 8, especially driving logs for Rygaard Logging into the saw mill during the warmer months. Dewey is the nephew of Craig Rygaard and cousin of Gabe, Jason, and Burt. Craig is the original owner of Rygaard Logging, and when he retired, Gabe took over.[16]
  • Joey Barnes: Barnes, known as the "King of Obsolete", and his daughter Xena live in northern Manitoba, well past the end of the winter roads. He uses vintage trucks and modified tractors to travel over the rough terrain for equipment delivery/pickup runs.[17]

Season 8[edit]

This season all drivers from season 7 return to Manitoba, and the same companies, Polar and VP Express, are shown. This is also the first season in which the program is a US / Canadian co-production, with Prospero Media and Shaw Media (owners of the Canadian History franchise) producing the show with Original Productions and the History channel.[citation needed]

Returning drivers[edit]

Darrell Ward, Art Burke, and Lisa Kelly work for Polar this season. Todd Dewey switches over to Polar to work this season.[18] Alex Debogorski will work for Hugh Rowland's VP Express this season.[19] Season 8 premiered on July 7, 2014. Ward quits Polar in Episode 5, frustrated with repeated truck breakdowns and how few loads he has taken, and goes into business for himself. He hires his son Reno to work for him in Episode 9. Joey Barnes appears in Episode 10 to escort Burke on a delivery run through the Manitoba wilderness, after Burke avoided being sacked after jack-knifing his truck in the previous trip. On episode 5, Burke is fined $490 and "shut down" (suspended from driving) for three days, due to multiple log-book infringements and over-working, from being stuck in the snowstorm on the previous round trip. On episode 12, Kelly, Burke, Dewey, Ward, and Reno all make it to Fort Severn, while Kelly decides to support Ward and help him go further into Peawanuck. Kelly was not censured by Mark for her actions, as it was "a morally and ethically right thing to do," and she was offered a job by Ward for the next season; she was undecided on switching sides.

Season 8 Load Count[edit]

  • Polar: 171
  • VP: 170
  • Total: 341

Season 9[edit]

On July 21, 2015, History announced season 9 would premier August 2, 2015, at 9/8c.

Returning drivers[edit]

The season features all the truckers from the prior season with the exception of Hugh Rowland. Polar Industries is shown, along with Darrell Ward's new company. Alex Debogorski, Todd Dewey, and Art Burke work for Polar, while Ward and Lisa Kelly work for their own company.[20][21] Joey Barnes appears for one episode to help Burke haul a load of fuel, and one new trucker joins the cast.

New drivers[edit]

  • Mike Simmons: Mike is the owner of Bad Apple Escorts, Inc., a pilot truck service based in Edmonton, Alberta. Although he is an experienced heavy hauler on the Alberta oil fields, this season marks his first exposure to ice road trucking. He is hired by Polar to help keep loads moving, in response to the threat of competition posed by Ward and Kelly.

Season X (10)[edit]

Per the History Channel Website, Season 10 (which the site calls Season X or "IRT X") premiered on August 4, 2016 at 10/9c.[22] Alex, Art, Todd, and Lisa continue driving for their respective companies, and one new driver is introduced. This is Ward's final season, as he was killed in a plane crash on August 28, 2016.[23]

New driver[edit]

  • Stephanie "Steph" Custance: Steph, 22, is a first-year ice road trucker with less than one year of commercial driving experience. Mark hires her to work for Polar, deciding that his need for drivers outweighs the problems he sees during her road test. She has a five-year-old son.

Season 11[edit]

Season 11 premiered August 24, 2017 on History. Alex, Art, Steph, and Todd continue driving for Polar, and Lisa continues to run the company she and Darrell founded. Darrell's son Reno, previously seen in Season 8, replaces him as Lisa's business partner.

IRT: Deadliest Roads[edit]

IRT:Deadliest Roads
Genre Reality
  • Former Drivers
  • Hugh Rowland
    (Season 2)
  • Lisa Kelly
    (Season 1 - 2)
  • Rick Yemm
    (Season 1 - 2)
  • Dave Redmon
    (Season 1 - 2)
  • Augustin Rodriguez
    (Season 2)
  • Tim Zickuhr
    (Season 2)
  • Alex Debogorski
    (Season 1)
  • G.W. Boles
    (Season 2)
Narrated by Thom Beers
Tom Cotcher (UK)
Country of origin Canada
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 23 (list of episodes)
Producer(s) David McKillop
Dolores Gavin
Thom Beers
Philip Segal
Dawn Fitzgerald
Adam Martin
Aron Plucinski
Location(s) India and South America
Running time 45 – 48 minutes
Production company(s) Original Productions
Distributor A+E Networks
Original network History
Original release October 3, 2010 (2010-10-03) – December 18, 2011 (2011-12-18)
External links

Season 1: Himalayas[edit]

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 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.
  • 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.[citation needed]

Season 2: South America[edit]

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 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.

Feature film[edit]

In 2008, 20th Century Fox acquired rights from the History Channel to create a scripted, theatrical action film based on the series.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Ice Road Truckers series". 
  2. ^ a b Kaplan, Don, "BACK ON THE 'ICE ROAD'", New York Post, April 2, 2008
  3. ^ "'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. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ Heffernan, Virginia, "Honk? No, Pray if You Hear a Loud Crack", The New York Times, June 22, 2007
  6. ^ "Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road 2008 orientation materials" (PDF). 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 1, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Producers find new ice road for TV series". Landline Magazine. Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. February 5, 2008. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Frozen Tundra Trucking: Popular trucking show not on thin ice". Today's Trucking: The Online Business Resource For Canada's Trucking Industry. Newcom Business Media, Inc. February 4, 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Ice Road Truckers (2007–) Dash for the Cash". IMDB., inc. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Working for Hugh". Hugh Rowland Official Site. Archived from the original on April 18, 2009. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  11. ^ "About the Snap Lake Mine". 2008. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Diavik". Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Harry Winston buying Ekati mine for $500M US". November 13, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Phil Kromm's testimony to Alaska Oil & Gas Association" (PDF). Alaska Oil & Gas Association. February 2011. 
  15. ^ "Season 4 Truckers — Ice Road Truckers —". April 18, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Todd Dewey - Ice Road Truckers Cast". Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Joey Barnes - Ice Road Truckers Cast". Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Todd Dewey". Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Alex Debogorski". Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  20. ^ "'Ice Road Truckers' Season 9 to Premiere Sunday, August 2 & & New Series 'Power & Ice' to Premiere Thursday, August 27 on History". TVbytheNumbers. July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Lisa Kelly". Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Ice Road Truckers Full Episodes, Video & More - HISTORY". 
  23. ^ "‘Ice Road Truckers’ Star Darrell Ward Killed In Plane Crash". 
  24. ^ Fleming, Michael. "Fox drives 'Truckers' to bigscreen", Variety. February 12, 2008

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]