Ice Road Truckers Review: Bold As Ice

September 10, 2009 by  
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ICE ROAD TRUCKERS: Thursday 10th September, History, 9pm Alert Me

The first of a new series of Ice Road Truckers on History (for some reason) takes us on a treacherous ride down Alaska’s most infamous ice road – The Dalton.

The Dalton is the most dangerous of ice roads, an unpaved road of ice, that in the winter months extends out across the Arctic Ocean to an oil rig.

Truckers must travel the length of the Dalton to transport oil, though with the highway’s layer of slick ice, steep grades to negotiate, and frequent avalanches it’s a treacherous route, having claimed a life for nearly every mile of its 414-mile stretch.

The voiceover calls it a “gauntlet of terror?, but he’s a bit over the top.

A job this dangerous demands a good salary – $120,000. “They don’t pay us this good because it’s easy?, says veteran ice road trucker George. “The girl scouts aren’t out here doing it?.

George, despite having done the job for 30 years, is still alive, though his friend Spud was killed a year ago when an oncoming truck obscured by a bend in the road came round to hit him head on.

Dying on the job is a very real possibility in the life of the ice road trucker, but they seem to take it in their stride. They’re all quite reserved. Which is probably why the series’ race format doesn’t seem quite so distasteful.

You heard right! The six truckers are racing, having to haul 6,000 loads from the Carlile depot in Fairbanks to the highways end in Deadhorse in 12 weeks, or before the end of the series.

The voiceover keeps you on track with whatever’s happening, though he does have a penchant for hyperbole. It’s all part of the fun though.

However, that illusion of the remoteness of the Dalton which has been carefully constructed is somehow shattered when trucker Jack is stopped in his tracks by a whiteout and a queue of normal, non-heavy duty vehicles queue up behind him to wait for conditions to improve.

Richard Hammond might as well stick his head out of one of the car windows to wave.

Ice Road Truckers is proper entertainment. It’s positively thrilling at some points. It may be manly with lots of spanners, gunning avalanches off mountains and animated reconstructions of truck crashes but it shouldn’t alienate anyone, as it’s subject matter is so engaging.

After watching the truckers however, with all their tempered virility, it’s hard to believe that Jeremy Clarkson et al made it to the North Pole in a Toyota.

Leonie Mercedes

Want more brawny males teetering on the brink of death for the love of their career? By Jove yes? Check out our review of Deadliest Catch… Or for more unchecked testosterone levels there’s America’s Toughest Prisons