Series 6 - Episode 1: Aces and Jokers

Episode 1: Aces and Jokers

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In the northern reaches of Canada, the Dempster Highway snakes for nearly 500 miles across the Yukon and Northwest Territories connecting some of the world’s remotest settlements. During the winter months the Dempster crosses frozen sections of two of Canada’s fastest flowing rivers and heads out on to the vast Arctic Ocean.

Based in White Horse, Yukon, Manitoulin Transport have made it their business to supply the communities that are served by the Dempster with all of the materials they need to survive. Delivering the goods are some of the hardiest drivers on the planet, the Ice Road Truckers.

Veteran trucker Alex Debogorski has signed up for a season on the Dempster. He arrives at Manitoulin’s depot to be given a very precious cargo – food. In Inuvik, at the other end of the Dempster, the 3,500 townsfolk have not had a delivery of food for more than a week and stocks are at desperate levels.

In Manitoba, crews prepare the winter roads, putting in place a network of frozen highways that only exist for a few weeks each year crossing swampland, rivers and frozen lakes. These roads provide access to over 150,000 square miles of Manitoba back country. This year, temperatures are at a record high, meaning there is less ice than ever before.

Hugh ‘The Polar Bear’ Rowland answers the call when Polar Industries in Manitoba send out a plea for truckers prepared to take on the slush and thin ice. Hugh negotiates hard to get himself a better than usual rate and also calls in the cavalry – his old mucker Rick.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, the peculiar weather patterns have pushed temperatures to record lows, with gauges in Fairbanks expected to reach minus 50 degrees celsius. Fairbanks is at one end of the Dalton Highway which crosses the frozen tundra and is the major artery used to deliver the heavy machinery required to facilitate the never ending search for Alaskan oil.

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