About the show

What does it take to build a house totally off the grid in some of the most unforgiving terrain on the planet? We follow a cast of characters who set out to construct three incredible cabins in the obscure Alaskan wilderness. With no roads and no building supply centers, they’ll have to get creative in a new season of Building Alaska .

The Faces of "Building Alaska"

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Chuck Gerwig, Builder
The Matanuska Glacier Project

Chuck is building a retirement home for his clients, Rebecca and Cleve Steadman. The home is a two-story 20'x50' luxury log cabin to be built at the base of Matanuska Glacier. Matanuska is the largest glacier in Alaska that can be reached by vehicle. A trip to town from the site is about a three-hour drive.

Jim Wagner, Builder
The Gustavus Project

Jim Wagner is a resident of Gustavus, Alaska, near Juneau. The population of Gustavus is 400. Jim plans to build his wilderness getaway in Chicken, Alaska — some 387 miles from Gustavus, as the crow flies. The population of Chicken: Seven.

Lee Raymond, Builder
The Quiet Lake Project

Lee Raymond is a resident of Chugiak, Alaska. The build site for his retirement home — dubbed "Lee's Nest Egg" — is on Quiet Lake near Mt. McKinley, and about 70 miles northwest of Anchorage. It's the most remote of the three projects and is only accessible by float plane in summer or snowmobile in winter.

Jim Wagner and Family
The Gustavus Project

Jim's extended family includes 22 children and grandchildren, and the whole family is pitching in on the cabin build. Here, from left to right, are Aaron (Jim's stepson and right-hand man), Faith, Jordan, Tanya (Jim's wife), Matti and Jim.

Chuck Gerwig and Family
The Matanuska Glacier Project

From left to right: Gerwig family members Tiffany, Brolene, Chuck, Joe and Benjamin, along with workers Mark and Caleb.

Lee Raymond and Team
The Quiet Lake Project

From left to right: Lee Raymond, Matt Moore, Mike Bragg, Arlen Simmons and Lee's right-hand man, Earl Bragg.

Team Gustavus
Jim Wagner

Jim is building the main structure for his two-story log cabin in Gustavus, meticulously marking each log for identification. The structure will then be disassembled and its components trucked more than 400 miles to its final destination where it will be reassembled. Jim is known as a perfectionist who may take a full day to precisely scribe and prep a single log by hand.

Team Gustavus
Tanya Wagner

Jim's wife Tanya assists with the cabin build and accompanies him on the trip transporting the cabin components 400 miles to Chicken, Alaska. "This is definitely going down in the books for the Wagner family," she says of the whole adventure, "We're definitely going to remember this forever."

Team Gustavus
Aaron Patrick

Each log being used in the Gustavus project is carefully cut and prepped by Jim and his sons and stepsons. Jim's boys Shane, Aaron (pictured here) and Shawn run a logging company nearby in Gustavus.

Team Gustavus
Aaron Patrick

For this project, Jim Wagner and his crew are working hemlock trees which typically grow straight trunks and produce strong, easy-to-work timber that grows harder with age.

Team Matanuska
Chuck Gerwig

Chuck Gerwig is not only a highly skilled builder, he also spent ten years as an Alaskan glacier guide.

Team Matanuska
Ryan Beachy

Ryan Beachy, Chuck's right-hand man on the build, supervises the installation of the scissor trusses that will support the cabin's roof and form the vaulted ceiling inside. Prior to this cabin project, Ryan had worked with Chuck for seven years.

©7D #1

Team Matanuska

Chuck's daughter, Tiffany Gerwig, pitched in on a range of tasks and was there to help see the Matanuska cabin project through to completion.

Team Matanuska

Mae Pauling, interior designer for the Matanuska cabin, made the 90-minute trek from her headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska. Mae assisted with kitchen design and the selection and placement of cabinetry, appliances, etc.

Team Matanuska

The luxurious 2,600-square-foot retirement home Chuck's building at the foot of Matanuska glacier is designed and constructed to be super energy-efficient.

Team Quiet Lake
Lee Raymond

Lee has the experience necessary for the kind of project he's undertaking at the remote Quiet Lake site. He has previously built nearly 50 cabins, all constructed to survive the severe Alaskan weather and conditions.

Team Quiet Lake
Lee Raymond and Earl Bragg

Like Jim Wagner, Lee and his crew are harvesting the timber for the log structure right at the site of the build. Lee selects standing trees that have already died since that will make for timber that is essentially "pre-seasoned" and hardened. This avoids the necessity for kiln-drying the wood.

Team Quiet Lake

Lee's wife, Gail Raymond

Team Quiet Lake

Lee's right-hand man, Earl Bragg

Team Quiet Lake

Lee's dog, Timber

An Alaska Native at Quiet Lake

Alaska Factoid: More than 50 percent of America's remaining wilderness can be found in the state of Alaska.

Team Quiet Lake

Mike Bragg and Matt Moore use draw planes to hand-peel bark from the logs that will serve as support posts and beams for the cabin.

Team Quiet Lake
Matt Moore

Once the ground began to thaw, one of Matt and Mike's tasks was to build a section of access road near the build site. It required more than 60 trips in a four-wheeler, hauling individual loads of gravel and sand.

Team Quiet Lake

Lee Raymond takes a break from the cabin construction for an afternoon of sheep-hunting with his son Aaron and assistants Mike and Matt.
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Watch Highlights from Building Alaska

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Season 2, Episode 2

Grip It and Rip It

As the summer season starts to thaw out in Alaska, the builders get underway. But their pre-planning doesn't make perfect. The Alaskan elements are stubborn at all three build sites, but a little ingenuity goes a long way.

Friday
Jun 12
6pm | 5c
Season 2, Episode 3

Chicken or Bust

The three builders each face their own forms of adversity. Lee Raymond is struggling to get back on track after losing a month to bad weather and an impassable semi-frozen Quiet Lake. At the Matanuska Glacier, Chuck Gerwig has had perfect weather, but most of his labor is due to leave once fishing season starts in less than a month. And Jim Wagner has finished, numbered, and taken down his cabin in Gustavus, but now begins the arduous 500 mile transport to Chicken that will include two ferry rides, 2 border crossings and hopefully enough supplies to finish the re-build before winter sets in.

Friday
Jun 12
7pm | 6c
Season 2, Episode 6

Tempers Flare

Winter is fast approaching and now all three of the builders are finding themselves with less help to finish the massive tasks at hand. In Chicken, Jim Wagner's build now relies heavily on his son Aaron. And as Aaron pushes Jim toward the finish line, both food and building supplies are running low. Chuck Gerwig has lost his remaining crew to college in Texas, so that leaves 17-year old daughter Tiffany and 10-year old son Zac to pull up the slack of finishing his 3000 square foot home. And Lee Raymond just cannot catch a break. The torrential rains have made it impossible to get ahead and now he's had to enlist a brand new crew to take over for his college workers, one of whom is his son Aaron. As the days to the end game get shorter, so do Lee's and Aaron's tempers.

Friday
Jun 12
9pm | 8c
Season 2, Episode 8

The End Game

Winter has arrived and the race is over. It's time for each of our builders to come to terms with their end games as they pack up and head home for the season. To say this year has been a challenge would be an understatement. From lakes, to glaciers, to areas savaged by fire, nothing was immune from Alaska's hostile nature. Whether that came in the form of brutal weather, extreme fatigue, or even death, it had to be endured and overcome. And although the men, their homes and the sites were vastly different, they all can lay claim to the same victory in surviving Alaska's wrath. Now is the time to shutter in, rest, and take stock in what matters for in just a few short months the season will change again and usher in a new chapter of Building Alaska.

Friday
Jun 12
11pm | 10c
Season 2, Episode 6

Tempers Flare

Winter is fast approaching and now all three of the builders are finding themselves with less help to finish the massive tasks at hand. In Chicken, Jim Wagner's build now relies heavily on his son Aaron. And as Aaron pushes Jim toward the finish line, both food and building supplies are running low. Chuck Gerwig has lost his remaining crew to college in Texas, so that leaves 17-year old daughter Tiffany and 10-year old son Zac to pull up the slack of finishing his 3000 square foot home. And Lee Raymond just cannot catch a break. The torrential rains have made it impossible to get ahead and now he's had to enlist a brand new crew to take over for his college workers, one of whom is his son Aaron. As the days to the end game get shorter, so do Lee's and Aaron's tempers.

Saturday
Jun 13
12am | 11c
Season 2, Episode 7

Downward Slide

As the days get shorter and colder, and snow is visible on the highest peaks, the builders frantically race to get their homes sealed in. Chuck Gerwig suffered a huge blow earlier in the summer with the loss of his righthand man, and now his ten hour days are up to twelve and its starting to show. Barely keeping in front of his subcontractors, one small mistake could mean not finishing. In Chicken, Jim Wagner's organizational luck has just run out. His flooring is four bundles short. So, with everything shutting down for the winter in a week, he's got to decide whether or not to make the half day journey to the lumberyard, which is no guarantee, or finish the roof before snow flies. Finally, at remote Quiet Lake, Lee Raymond's son "high speed, no grease" Aaron, is scrambling to get the roofing on before the snow. But the constant rain mixed with Aaron's speed has created a very slick situation and Aaron just can't hold on.

Saturday
Jun 13
1am | 12c
Season 2, Episode 8

The End Game

Winter has arrived and the race is over. It's time for each of our builders to come to terms with their end games as they pack up and head home for the season. To say this year has been a challenge would be an understatement. From lakes, to glaciers, to areas savaged by fire, nothing was immune from Alaska's hostile nature. Whether that came in the form of brutal weather, extreme fatigue, or even death, it had to be endured and overcome. And although the men, their homes and the sites were vastly different, they all can lay claim to the same victory in surviving Alaska's wrath. Now is the time to shutter in, rest, and take stock in what matters for in just a few short months the season will change again and usher in a new chapter of Building Alaska.

Saturday
Jun 13
2am | 1c
Season 2, Episode 3

Chicken or Bust

The three builders each face their own forms of adversity. Lee Raymond is struggling to get back on track after losing a month to bad weather and an impassable semi-frozen Quiet Lake. At the Matanuska Glacier, Chuck Gerwig has had perfect weather, but most of his labor is due to leave once fishing season starts in less than a month. And Jim Wagner has finished, numbered, and taken down his cabin in Gustavus, but now begins the arduous 500 mile transport to Chicken that will include two ferry rides, 2 border crossings and hopefully enough supplies to finish the re-build before winter sets in.

Sunday
Jun 21
7pm | 6c
Season 2, Episode 5

A Long Hard Slog

After battling the tragedy of the loss of his righthand man, Ryan Beachy, Chuck Gerwig is back in the saddle and ready to finish the job that he and Ryan started months earlier. 312 miles northeast in Chicken, Alaska, Jim Wagner and crew are at a near standstill due to a nonstop rain that has turned their man-made road into an impassible swamp. And with a concrete truck due any minute, will they be able to get it fixed before they risk losing any hope of getting the foundation poured? Finally, Lee Raymond has been fighting the same weather since he started and he's still behind. Now he's losing his number one crew to college, so his final push will have to be with a brand new crew that can afford no errors.

Tuesday
Jun 23
2pm | 1c
Season 2, Episode 6

Tempers Flare

Winter is fast approaching and now all three of the builders are finding themselves with less help to finish the massive tasks at hand. In Chicken, Jim Wagner's build now relies heavily on his son Aaron. And as Aaron pushes Jim toward the finish line, both food and building supplies are running low. Chuck Gerwig has lost his remaining crew to college in Texas, so that leaves 17-year old daughter Tiffany and 10-year old son Zac to pull up the slack of finishing his 3000 square foot home. And Lee Raymond just cannot catch a break. The torrential rains have made it impossible to get ahead and now he's had to enlist a brand new crew to take over for his college workers, one of whom is his son Aaron. As the days to the end game get shorter, so do Lee's and Aaron's tempers.

Tuesday
Jun 23
3pm | 2c
Season 2, Episode 8

The End Game

Winter has arrived and the race is over. It's time for each of our builders to come to terms with their end games as they pack up and head home for the season. To say this year has been a challenge would be an understatement. From lakes, to glaciers, to areas savaged by fire, nothing was immune from Alaska's hostile nature. Whether that came in the form of brutal weather, extreme fatigue, or even death, it had to be endured and overcome. And although the men, their homes and the sites were vastly different, they all can lay claim to the same victory in surviving Alaska's wrath. Now is the time to shutter in, rest, and take stock in what matters for in just a few short months the season will change again and usher in a new chapter of Building Alaska.

Tuesday
Jun 23
5pm | 4c
Season 1, Episode 6

Cast Away

It's a sprint to the finish as Bob gets the cabin completed before his first paying customers arrive. Furniture and other items are installed at the last moment. He works 16-hour days, goes over budget, but ends up with the cabin of his dreams.

Monday
Jul 13
8:30am | 7:30c
Season 2, Episode 4

Ryan's Song

While its full-steam ahead for Lee Raymond as he finally gets some much welcomed sun, Jim Wagner and his family begin the long process of starting over; building roads, leveling ground and ultimately trying to get their cabin in Chicken back up. Amidst all the fervor of the other two builds, Chuck Gerwig's site is oddly quiet. Disaster has struck. His righthand man, Ryan Beachy, has been tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. Now his build is suspended and a decision needs to be made, to continue or not.

Monday
Jul 13
11am | 10c

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