New Series "Life Below Zero" Explores the Incredible Lives of Six Alaskans
Living Off the Land and Off the Grid in the Country's Most Vicious Climate
"PEOPLE GET AFRAID OF BREAK-INS. MY BREAK-IN INVOLVES TEETH, CLAWS AND A HELL
OF A LOT OF BAD WEATHER."
Brave the Arctic Chill Beginning Sunday, May 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the
National Geographic Channel
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2013
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Isolated. Dark. Cold.
Combating minus 60-degree days. Your only neighbors are bears, wolves and
foxes. For many, living in these conditions would be a nightmare, but for some
residents of the remote corners of Alaska, it's a preferred way of life. The
new weekly series Life Below Zero, premiering Sunday, May 19, at 10 p.m.
ET/PT, takes viewers inside the daily challenges of people who have chosen to
live in one of America's harshest climates, Alaska.
From winter preparations through the thaw, Life Below Zero, produced by
Adjacent Productions, follows six people as they battle for the most basic
necessities in the state with the lowest population density in the United
States. Living at the ends of the world's loneliest roads and subsisting off
the rugged Alaskan bush, they battle whiteout snow storms, man-eating
carnivores, questionable frozen terrain and limited resources through a long
and bitter winter. Some of them are lone wolves; others have their families
beside them. All must overcome despairing odds to brave the wild and survive
through to the spring.
Each episode of Life Below Zero takes viewers deeper into the winter,
following brave residents as they struggle in their different corners of this
merciless territory to stay one step ahead of storms and predators. Money is
practically worthless; food, fuel and fur are the real commodities. Experience
has taught them to take a shotgun to the bathroom in case of a surprise bear
attack; that the heart is the best bite of a cooked ptarmigan; and that
caribou hooves make the best "mukluk" boots. It's a raw look at what life is
like without paved roads, grocery stores, central heat or neighbors.
View the series trailer here:
Among the incredible people that viewers will meet are—
Sue Aikens, the sole nine-month resident of the Kavik River Camp, 197 miles
north of the Arctic Circle. Her address is a GPS coordinate, and her closest
neighbor — besides the 80-something grizzly bears within a 10-mile radius — is
more than 300 miles south. As the series begins, Sue is returning home for the
first time in months following surgery on a broken ankle, and is uncertain of
the conditions she'll find at her home. Has the camp been overrun by wildlife?
Is it even accessible in the deep snow? Does she have the supplies to make it
through another vicious winter? "You know, people get afraid of break-ins,"
says Sue. "My break-in involves teeth, claws and a hell of a lot of bad
Chip and Agnes Hailstone, who met in Noorvik 25 years ago, live together 19
miles north of the Arctic Circle. They fish and hunt using the techniques of
Agnes' Inupiat ancestors. What they catch before the winter will not only
sustain them, but also be the vital currency they need in bartering for other
necessary supplies. But their race to be prepared has its own dangers: Agnes
has lost her mother, her brother and her brother's girlfriend into the ice.
Together, they fight on because it's the place they love. "You got to remember
the country can eat you," warns Chip. "Just as quick as you can eat anything
from the country."
Erik Salitan, a registered guide outfitter living in Wiseman, just over 60
miles north of the Arctic Circle. He moved to Alaska the day he graduated from
high school, choosing to forgo the more "normal life" that many of his
classmates chose in order to live life off the land. He buys no meat from the
store, instead subsisting wholly on what he hunts and finds. If his firearms
malfunction, or if the herds are scarce, he'll struggle. "What I need, what I
want, what you need, what you want, what people think they need or want, it's
all subjective," says Erik. "Comfort is subjective. This is a plush life in my
And finally, Andy and Kate Bassich, long-time residents of the Yukon
Territory, 122 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Every year, the Yukon River
freezes, leaving them cut off from the nearest signs of civilization until the
ice is thick enough to cross. They not only need to prepare themselves for the
isolation, but also have the supplies to feed and care for their pack of sled
dogs, which they depend on to survive in the winter. "You know, life is on
life's terms, not mine," says Andy. "If you just go blindly doing things, it
will bite you real quick."
In this unforgiving extremity of America, these are some of the toughest and
most resilient people in the world, and their jaw-dropping lifestyle in
unthinkable circumstances will leave viewers craving more.
Premiere episodes include:
Life Below Zero: End of the Road
Premieres Sunday, May 19, 2013, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Six people separated by hundreds of miles, all linked by the common cause of
surviving the winter in the Alaskan bush, face real challenges in a brutal
environment. In Noorvik, Chip and his family race to set whitefish nets on
thin ice to haul in the last catch of the season. Fishing on top of the frozen
river is one of the most deadly activities they do all year, but it's vital
that they haul in enough fish to sustain them through the winter. Further
east, Andy eagerly tests the safety of the river surrounding his house that he
and his wife use as their link to the outside world. Without this winter
lifeline, which grants them access to surrounding hunting grounds and the town
of Eagle, they are trapped and isolated. Across the state in the desolate
wilderness, Erikis on a vital hunt for red meat. After a malfunctioning
firearm ends his first attempt unsuccessfully, his second pass results in a
bountiful kill, and he sets to work dressing his kill so the meat will last
him through the winter months. Sue Aikens is anxious to return to her camp
after three months in the big city of Fairbanks recovering from surgery. Once
she receives the green light to return to her home on the North Slope, she
still must find a plane and pilot able to fly her to her isolated camp in
Kavik, which she fears has been overrun by bears.
Life Below Zero: Hunt, Barter and Steal
Premieres Sunday, May 26, 2013, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
After being away for several months due to an injury, Sue is finally on her
way to her home at the Kavik River Camp, where she is the sole nine-month
resident. Though she is prepared to find that bears and other wildlife may
have taken up residence there, what she actually discovers is an even bigger
surprise: thieves have pilfered her winter fuel supply. If she runs out before
weather conditions make a delivery possible, she'll freeze. In Noorvik, Chip
and Agnes are unable to access their hunting grounds until their river
freezes, leaving them forced to rely on bartering the supplies they do have
for the essential items they lack. Across the state, Andy and his wife are
forced to take drastic measures when they discover that they are almost out of
food for their dogs — their primary means of transportation in the winter.
After an emergency airlift to solve that problem, costing upwards of several
thousand dollars, Andy gets to work solving another: hunting for sustenance
for him and his wife Kate. And finally, Erik ventures out on the frozen river
to hunt. He doesn't just need food for himself, but items for trading.
Life Below Zero: Winter's Edge
Premieres Sunday, June 2, 2013, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Winter is coming fast, and six Alaskans living in the remote corners of the
state are in a rush to prepare for the challenging months ahead. Alone at the
Kavik River Camp, a blizzard with hurricane-force winds descends on Sue's camp
as she sets up "hand lines" between her most critical buildings so she can
find them in whiteout conditions. Having been attacked by wildlife before, she
also prepares her supply of firearms in case of an emergency. In Wiseman, Erik
must tend to two arduous but critical tasks: collecting water for sustenance
and wood for warmth. If he's unsuccessful at either, he'll face serious
trouble very quickly. Andy and Kate have been cut off from the nearest town
because of unsafe ice. With temperatures dropping, Andy is ready to make the
final push to get to Eagle in order to replenish their supplies — including,
hopefully, supplies to make a much-needed beer. And in Noorvik, Chip and Agnes
team up on a hunt for caribou. When they return from their first hunt
empty-handed, they are forced to refocus and restrategize for a second try.
Their family depends on them, and they can't afford to return home without a
Life Below Zero: Wolf At The Door
Premieres Sunday, June 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Mechanical breakdowns and invading predators threaten the lives of six people
as they try to survive the dark and cold winter in Alaska. In Kavik, a
familiar sound startles Sue. She soon realizes that a deadly wolf has
approached her cabin, so close that her own life is in serious danger.
Nineteen miles north of the Arctic Circle, Chip's snow machine breaks down.
This threatens his own survival, as without it he cannot fish, hunt or trade.
In Wiseman, Erik hunts for lynx fur to earn money. He sets up a two-mile trap
line to catch the beast, but it outsmarts him every time. Now, though, he is
more determined to catch one, so he must set and check even more traps. Near
Eagle, a daily task of getting wood on his snow machine leaves Andy stranded
miles from home. Will he be able to struggle back to his family?
Life Below Zero is produced by Adjacent Productions for National Geographic
Channel. Executive producers for Adjacent Productions are Tim Pastore, Elli
Hakami and Jane Tranter. Travis Shakespeare and Tommy Baynard are co-executive
producers. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Kevin Mohs;
executive vice president of programming is Michael Cascio; and president is
Howard T. Owens.
For more information on the show, visit www.natgeotv.com/.
About National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the
National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National
Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National
Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education
with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its
mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC)
celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the
wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in
2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels
have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite
television providers, with NGC currently available in 85 million U.S. homes.
Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million
homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit
About Adjacent Productions
Adjacent Productions is a label that sits within BBC Worldwide Productions,
one of five core businesses under BBC Worldwide America, the U.S. division of
BBC Worldwide, the main commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of the
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The Adjacent Productions label serves
to identify new programming created by the Los Angeles-based production
company, while BBC Worldwide Productions identifies BBC reformats that the
team develops and produces for the U.S. market. The first scripted series
under the Adjacent Productions label is Da Vinci's Demons (Starz), set to
premiere spring 2013. The second season of Breaking Pointe (The CW) and Life
Below Zero (National Geographic Channel) will be the first unscripted series
to broadcast under Adjacent Productions.
SOURCE National Geographic Channel
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