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Life Below Zero

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When bears, wolves and foxes are your only neighbors, life can be pretty lonely. Add minus-60-degree days and a constant battle for the most basic necessities, and you have the daily challenges of people who live in remote corners of Alaska. This series takes viewers deep into an Alaskan winter to meet tough, resilient residents as they try to stay one step ahead of storms and man-eating beasts to survive the season. The closest neighbor to Sue Aikens is more than 300 miles away. Eric Salitan subsists solely on what he hunts and forages. Chip and Agnes Hailstone catch fish for currency in bartering for supplies, and Andy and Kate Bassich use their pack of sled dogs for transportation. Also highlighted is a time of year not always part of what viewers see in Alaska: spring! Ice is breaking, animals are waking, and residents face new tests before deep cold returns.

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A lifelong dream is within reach in the Arctic, and only Mother Nature stands in the way.
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Alaskans take to the frozen trails to harvest much-needed resources for dark winter.
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Alaskans seize opportunities to improve their livelihoods; Sue settles back into life at Kavik; Ricko replaces the cabin stove; Jessie struggles to free his four-wheeler from the frozen mud; Chip and Agnes hunt an apex predator.
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Hard lessons must be learned to survive during the dark winter in the Arctic.
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With their futures uncertain, Alaskans must adapt to old and new surroundings to survive.
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As the weather shifts in the Arctic, Alaskans brace for dark winter's wrath.
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To survive dark winter, Alaskans call on old traditions and learn new techniques.
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At the onset of dark winter, the clock is ticking for Alaskans to brace for what lies ahead.
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There are no guarantees for Alaskans during the grim winter in the Arctic.
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To survive the quickly worsening conditions in the Arctic, Alaskans must finish the tasks that will keep them ahead of winter's wrath; Glenn Villeneuve hunts caribou to keep his family fed for the remainder of winter.
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As winter approaches, Alaskans must complete their final tasks before the freeze.
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Sue sharpens her survival skills; Jessie sets out for food and medicine; Glenn burns a manmade structure to the ground so that nature can reclaim its rightful place; the Hailstones embark on a traditional hunt for valued seal meat and oil.
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The Hailstone family rushes to prepare camp for a possible storm; winds jeopardize Sue's camp and livelihood; as goose season opens, Ricko teaches his daughter to hunt; Glenn heads out to replenish his family's meat supply.
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Even the toughest Alaskans sometimes need a helping hand.
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In freezing temperatures, Alaskans must build and maintain means of transportation.
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Alaskans have to work hard in order to eat.
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The cast reflects on memorable moments; Sue Aikens faces her fears; Jessie Holmes enters a dog sled race; the Hailstones overcome adversity; Ricko DeWilde goes trapping; Glenn Villeneuve builds a unique shelter.
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In Alaska, any change in the weather pattern can throw off the natural balance of life.
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Every year, Alaskans partake in ancient traditions and create their own rituals.
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Life in the isolated wilderness is possible only when people work together.
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For Alaskans living off the land, timing is everything.

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Each year adventurers make Alaska's mighty Yukon River their home for five weeks. They float downstream on homemade log rafts to sell firewood and other supplies to remote villages. The reality-documentary "Yukon River Run" presents hourlong episodes tracking the progress of various crews. As harsh winter months approach and threaten both safety and success, stakes are heightened as rafters endeavor to cash out and escape from the cold.
Extreme survivalists go head to head in a race across the Alaska wild. Using ingenuity, experience and just the gear they can carry in their packs, the participants have 60 hours to reach the finish point of each leg of the adventure -- the series features 13 legs -- and in addition to navigating treacherous glaciated river valleys, barren ridgelines, and high mountain peaks, the challengers battle hunger, dangerous predators and unpredictable weather. There is no grand prize awaiting each leg's winner, other than the pride of accomplishing a grueling feat. For season three, the 12 competitors are divided equally into four teams -- Military, Endurance, Alaskans and Lower 48.
Patrolling America's largest state is the job of roughly 400 troopers in one of the toughest law enforcement agencies in the nation. Essentially, these cops say, nearly every Alaskan resident is armed and they know how to use their weapons, which makes any scenario a trooper encounters a potentially fatal one. Follow along as the "blue shirt" Alaskan State Troopers police the towns and villages, and the "brown shirt" Alaska Wildlife Troopers enforce regulations covering both commercial and sport fishing and hunting activities.
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Tradition collides with transformation in McCarthy, Alaska. The isolated town -- once considered to be the state's version of "Sin City" -- flourished during the Gold Rush but is now home to roughly 40 people, a mix of mavericks, risk takers and rabble rousers willing to brave extreme conditions to live free. While some believe in continuing the town's frontier way of life, others feel the future of McCarthy depends on dragging it into the modern age. Long-standing resident Jeremy Keller fights to protect its roots, while Neil Darish has purchased multiple properties in town and plans to restore its vibrancy. "Edge of Alaska" tells the story of a hinterland at a crossroads.
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"Alaskan Bush People" is a reality-documentary series that introduces the Brown family -- Billy, wife Ami and their seven grown children who -- according to Discovery -- are interesting because "they are unlike any other family in America." The channel says they are so far removed from civilization that they often go six to nine months each year without seeing an outsider. They refer to themselves as a "wolf pack" and, perhaps due to isolation, have their own accent and dialect. The Browns live in the Copper River Valley, where temperatures can drop to 60 degrees below zero, and the family recently relocated and built a cabin there because, they say, their former home of many years was seized and burned down for being in the wrong location on public land.
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The breathtaking beauty of Alaska sometimes hides the fact its winters can be incredibly harsh, especially for those who live in the state's outlying areas. "Alaska: The Last Frontier" perfectly illustrates this reality, as the series profiles life for the Kilcher family in the isolated community of Homer. For four generations the Kilchers have lived off what their 600-acre homestead has provided, but cultivating that living is never easy. Led by patriarch Atz Kilcher and his brother Otto, the family spends the short summer and fall gardening, hunting and fishing for food, gathering supplies from the land and preparing their animals for the winter. Viewers, who may or may not have a fancy phone by their side while watching on their big-screen high-def TV, also see the Kilchers living off the grid, where running water and electricity aren't daily staples, nor is contact with the outside world. Atz, by the way, is the father of music superstar Jewel.
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Tanana, Alaska, is like the Pacific Northwest's version of Hotel California: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Well, not exactly, but describing the town as remote is akin to saying the winters are chilly. Located at the junction of the Tanana and Yukon rivers deep in the state's interior, the town has no roads in or out, and for its 200-plus residents, survival in the winter is a daily challenge. "Yukon Men" unveils the people of Tanana, who struggle to find food, heat their homes, and ward off predators. But they stick together, a bond that helps them overcome the harsh conditions.
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Back to the beautiful state of Alaska for another reality-documentary series, this one set in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area home to thousands of native animals... and a handful of people. In 1980, the U.S. government banned human occupation in the refuge, and only residents in seven permitted cabins are allowed to remain. The series depicts the daily rituals of four families living in isolation and contending with bitter weather, frustrating setbacks, and aggressive wildlife in an unspoiled and unforgiving wilderness. The nonconformists include Heimo Korth, the "godfather of the final frontier," and wife Edna; Bob Harte, who has spent 40 years living by his own rules; and young couple Bob and Ashley Selden, who admit that they've survived by trial and error, learning day by day the harsh reality of frontier living.
Money and goods mean nothing to the people in "Live Free or Die." The series depicts a trend called "rewilding" -- the undomestication of humans -- and follows those who've rejected a mainstream existence to live off the land, in simple homes without electricity or running water. Being self-sufficient is a constant challenge, as obstacles like brutal weather and depleted food stocks require quick, innovative solutions. Modern pioneers include Colbert, a former financial adviser now living in a Georgia swamp; Gabriel, whose California lifestyle alternates between the mountains and the sea; and Tony and Amelia, who turned a hillside in the Blue Ridge Mountains into a garden.