Tougher in Alaska

About the show

Host Geo Beach, who has lived in Alaska for more than 25 years, takes viewers on a tour of his state, revealing how its people have been forced to adapt to sometimes extreme weather conditions, rugged and often dangerous terrain and a culture in which communities are separated by vast distances. Topics covered include gold mining, salmon fishing, logging, law enforcement and transportation.

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Upcoming episodes

Jun 21st
200p

Salmon Fishing

Each summer in late June, more than 2,000 fishing vessels converge on Alaska’s Bristol Bay to await one of the greatest natural spectacles of the north: the annual run of millions of sockeye salmon to their spawning grounds. Bristol Bay is the most productive commercial salmon fishery in the world with an average annual catch of ten million fish valued at $20 million dollars. What follows the fish during the short, three-week run is an altogether man-made spectacle of the highest order: thousands of highly competitive fishermen doing serious battle with one another in their specialized, high-performance boats. Geo will be on deck with two crews as they navigate the bay looking for the mother lode. It’s all about getting the fish in the nets. But staying up all night, avoiding collisions with other boats, and keeping the peace with the State Troopers who patrol the crowded fishery by land, sea, and sky just makes it more interesting.
Jun 22nd
300a

Salmon Fishing

Each summer in late June, more than 2,000 fishing vessels converge on Alaska’s Bristol Bay to await one of the greatest natural spectacles of the north: the annual run of millions of sockeye salmon to their spawning grounds. Bristol Bay is the most productive commercial salmon fishery in the world with an average annual catch of ten million fish valued at $20 million dollars. What follows the fish during the short, three-week run is an altogether man-made spectacle of the highest order: thousands of highly competitive fishermen doing serious battle with one another in their specialized, high-performance boats. Geo will be on deck with two crews as they navigate the bay looking for the mother lode. It’s all about getting the fish in the nets. But staying up all night, avoiding collisions with other boats, and keeping the peace with the State Troopers who patrol the crowded fishery by land, sea, and sky just makes it more interesting.
Jun 23rd
100p

Wild Waste

In the Lower 48, people don’t think twice about flushing their toilets or leaving their trashcans on the curb. In Alaska, waste disposal is a much tougher business. In Ketchikan, the bear capitol of the world, Geo will race to collect trash before the black bears can get to it. Then, Geo teams up with a guy who may have one of the toughest jobs in all of Alaska—a remote maintenance worker. This guy is the sole plumber, electrician and carpenter to nearly a dozen bush villages in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, an area the size of Washington state. Once Geo’s out of the bush, he’ll head to the frozen city of Fairbanks and make house calls to help thaw frozen septic pipes and tanks so that can be a Fairbanks a free-flowing city once again.
Jun 23rd
200p

Extreme Salvaging

Alaska’s southeast panhandle, a 35,000 square-mile stretch of the state is cut off from the rest of the world by steep coastal mountains on one side and a stormy north pacific ocean on the other. In between lie hundreds of remote communities perched on the area’s many islands. Geo explores the region to see how people get by with almost no roads. Juneau, Alaska’s capital can be reached only by air or water and there are no telephone or power lines connecting it to the outside world – or even, the rest of the state. Geo boards a ferry on the Alaska State Highway system - the only federal road system that goes over water, helps blast an underground hard rock tunnel for an ambitious hydroelectric powerhouse that will tap a glacial lake to power Juneau, and works with flying telephone workers to install and maintain microwave repeaters on top of snowy and stormy mountains.
Jun 24th
100a

Wild Waste

In the Lower 48, people don’t think twice about flushing their toilets or leaving their trashcans on the curb. In Alaska, waste disposal is a much tougher business. In Ketchikan, the bear capitol of the world, Geo will race to collect trash before the black bears can get to it. Then, Geo teams up with a guy who may have one of the toughest jobs in all of Alaska—a remote maintenance worker. This guy is the sole plumber, electrician and carpenter to nearly a dozen bush villages in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, an area the size of Washington state. Once Geo’s out of the bush, he’ll head to the frozen city of Fairbanks and make house calls to help thaw frozen septic pipes and tanks so that can be a Fairbanks a free-flowing city once again.
Jun 24th
200a

Extreme Salvaging

Alaska’s southeast panhandle, a 35,000 square-mile stretch of the state is cut off from the rest of the world by steep coastal mountains on one side and a stormy north pacific ocean on the other. In between lie hundreds of remote communities perched on the area’s many islands. Geo explores the region to see how people get by with almost no roads. Juneau, Alaska’s capital can be reached only by air or water and there are no telephone or power lines connecting it to the outside world – or even, the rest of the state. Geo boards a ferry on the Alaska State Highway system - the only federal road system that goes over water, helps blast an underground hard rock tunnel for an ambitious hydroelectric powerhouse that will tap a glacial lake to power Juneau, and works with flying telephone workers to install and maintain microwave repeaters on top of snowy and stormy mountains.
Jun 28th
200p

Gold Mining

Since the 1870s, the promise of gold has lured men north to Alaska. With the cost of gold skyrocketing, the race is on once again and Geo joins in on the chase. He’ll see how individual prospectors around the state use ingenious techniques (including a giant underwater vacuum) to get the gold out, and he’ll join a team of hard rock miners in the frontier mining town of Wiseman as they blast through 250 feet of rock in the hopes of hitting the mother lode.
Jun 29th
300a

Gold Mining

Since the 1870s, the promise of gold has lured men north to Alaska. With the cost of gold skyrocketing, the race is on once again and Geo joins in on the chase. He’ll see how individual prospectors around the state use ingenious techniques (including a giant underwater vacuum) to get the gold out, and he’ll join a team of hard rock miners in the frontier mining town of Wiseman as they blast through 250 feet of rock in the hopes of hitting the mother lode.
Jun 30th
100p

Arctic Troopers

How do Alaska State Troopers keep the peace in a state twice the size of Texas? Geo will find out when he joins a team of recruits for an intense survival course at Alaska’s Trooper Academy in Sitka, investigates caribou “crime” scenes with wildlife Troopers in the Brooks Range, and helps the sergeant at the northernmost Trooper post in America to hunt for alcohol smugglers and arrest criminals in the remote arctic bush villages outside Kotzebue.
Jun 30th
200p

Railroading

In the Lower 48, the Amtrak or subway may not run on time, but in Alaska, avalanches and earthquakes make pretzels out of train tracks and giant mountains put a strain on even the strongest engines. Deep in the state’s Interior, Geo hops on the infamous Alaska Railroad and travels 450 miles through the most perilous and unforgiving terrain on the planet. He’ll load coal in Usibelli, join the rail gang in Denali, clear snow at wintry Moose Pass, shoot a cannon at the snowy mountainside to trigger a “controlled” avalanche, and visit the spooky, isolated end-of-the-line town of Whittier…all of this to find out what it takes to keep the railroad on track, and supplying Alaskans with what they need to survive.