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.

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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 3, Episode 9

Game Day

Just as Derek and his band of buddies are about to give up on their dream of a cliffside ski hut, Alaska hands them a miracle that turns a down day into game day. Lee loses one of his hardest working crew members out at Bulchitna Lake just as they have to lift an 800 pound truss into place, and Tony's hideaway cabin is in good enough shape to take a break and fish for halibut on the Lynn Canal.

Sunday
Mar 8
10pm | 9c
Season 3, Episode 6

Balancing Act

The builds are growing taller and the work more dangerous as Lee's crew must balance on a second story beam to get work done. Tony attempts to take a day off but stumbles upon a mysterious cabin that could be his next project. Meanwhile, Derek and his crew attempt to clear the site to create the ski hut's foundation pylons in the face of wicked winds, making it dangerous for the helicopter pilot to sling gravel to the guys.

Saturday
Mar 14
12am | 11c
Season 3, Episode 3

Destructive Forces

Tony Malone's crew outside of Haines, Alaska, get a visit from a hungry bear. Builder Lee Raymond faces challenges when working closely with family. Derek Galbraith reveals the tragic story behind the heli-skiing industry in Valdez, Alaska.

Tuesday
Mar 24
9pm | 8c
Season 3, Episode 9

Game Day

Just as Derek and his band of buddies are about to give up on their dream of a cliffside ski hut, Alaska hands them a miracle that turns a down day into game day. Lee loses one of his hardest working crew members out at Bulchitna Lake just as they have to lift an 800 pound truss into place, and Tony's hideaway cabin is in good enough shape to take a break and fish for halibut on the Lynn Canal.

Wednesday
Apr 1
11pm | 10c
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.

Thursday
Apr 9
11am | 10c
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.

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

Destructive Forces

Tony Malone's crew outside of Haines, Alaska, get a visit from a hungry bear. Builder Lee Raymond faces challenges when working closely with family. Derek Galbraith reveals the tragic story behind the heli-skiing industry in Valdez, Alaska.

Saturday
Oct 24
7am | 6c
Season 3, Episode 7

The Missing Helicopter

Lee's crew scrambles to correct a mistake after a mighty framing miscalculation at Bulchitna Lake. Tony makes a dangerous call to fix a problem that could destroy his own log cabin and potentially injure his team, and excitement builds for Derek's crew as transport of the ski hut begins, until the helicopter goes missing and sends the crew into an outright panic while they wait for answers.

Tuesday
Dec 29
6pm | 5c
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.

Saturday
Jan 16
8am | 7c
Season 5, Episode 4

Hello Hoonah

Builder Adam Tschappat and his brothers deal with record-breaking spring temperatures at their build site in the Wrangell Mountains. Mike Williams is keeping one eye on his crops and the other on his build forcing him to look the other way when it comes to code on his Guest Cabin in Eagle Song. Dave and Hans nearly get stranded due to receding tides at the Island Getaway build on Shelter Island.

Tuesday
Feb 16
6pm | 5c
Season 5, Episode 9

Lofty Goals

Builder Mike Williams gets all 45 of his logs peeled and starts to stack and insulate his cabin in Eagle Song. Builders Dave and Hans deal with dangerous heavy fog on their boat journey to Shelter island and struggle to lift heavy logs with limited help. Builder Adam Tschappat saves the day with an extra bag of cement and his team prepare the location and materials needed for the cabin's outhouse in the Wrangell Mountains.

Tuesday
Mar 1
9pm | 8c
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.

Wednesday
Jun 29
10am | 9c
Season 4, Episode 9

Muscle Power

Remote building often means no machines, but that's no problem as Rich's team uses brute strength to muscle up the 800lb mainframe beam. It's all hands on deck at Tom's build as lumber shortages linger and Creig finally gets things to line up just as he loses his last helper.

Monday
Feb 20
12pm | 11c
Season 6, Episode 1

Game On

The three build teams kick off their builds and each faces unique challenges while building in the remote Alaskan wilderness. Bruce Chambers and his crew begin building a cabin on LaTouche Island, while Mark Sams and his team begin building a cabin in Freshwater Bay. Then, Dave Poppert and his family begin building a family home on Point MacKenzie.

Tuesday
Jul 11
10am | 9c
Season 6, Episode 2

Piece of the Pie

Bruce Chambers and his crew run out of supplies, putting their cabin build at a standstill. Mark Sams and his crew are challenged to make their foundation level and square, and Dave Poppert and his family deal with a non-functional milling machine while working on their family home.

Tuesday
Jul 11
11am | 10c
Season 6, Episode 3

The Wrong Stuff

The three build teams continue their builds in unique, remote Alaskan settings. At Bruce Chambers' build site on LaTouche Island, their worst nightmare becomes a reality when their backup generator dies. On Mark Sams' build in Freshwater Bay, near Hoonah, one of his crew is missing, and Mark hopes for the best. Dave Poppert is rolling solo despite the risks of building alone off the grid at Point MacKenzie, near Wasilla.

Tuesday
Jul 11
12pm | 11c
Season 6, Episode 4

Stormy Weather

The three build teams continue their builds in unique, remote Alaskan settings. At Bruce Chambers' build on LaTouche Island, getting the log walls up continues to be a nightmare, but Bruce finds the perfect way to let off some steam. On Chichagof Island, Mark Sams and his crew endure pounding rain that makes the build miserable. At Dave Poppert's build, he and his team race against Mother Nature to get the roof up before the snow falls in Point MacKenzie.

Tuesday
Jul 11
1pm | 12c
Season 6, Episode 5

Seasonal Squeeze

The three teams continue their builds in unique, remote Alaskan settings. At Bruce Chambers' build on LaTouche Island, the team wrestles giant glulam beams into place and the situation turns disastrous after a poorly cut beam pushes out an entire wall. At Mark Sams' build on Chichagof Island, things get scary when the guys lose control of a 700-pound ridge beam. At Dave Poppert's build near Point MacKenzie, his lumber mill takes a hit after an order gets cancelled and reduces funds for his dream retirement home.

Tuesday
Jul 11
2pm | 1c
Season 6, Episode 6

Emergency Supply Run

At Bruce Chambers' build on LaTouche Island, the team comes dangerously close to catastrophe as they install a 1,000 pound ridge beam. At Mark Sam's build on Chichagof Island, the team runs out of critical supplies which sends Mark and Chris on an emergency run to Hoonah to find replacements. At Dave Poppert's build near Point MacKenzie, Dave is making progress with getting support columns into the loft area, getting him closer to having a roof over his build.

Tuesday
Jul 11
3pm | 2c
Season 6, Episode 7

A Roof Overhead

At Bruce Chambers' build on LaTouche Island, rain has put everything on hold and the crew struggles to keep things dry. At Mark Sam's build on Chichagof Island, tensions run high on Rich's last day making the team uneasy. At Dave Poppert's build near Point MacKenzie, he and his crew rush to make up for lost time and work to get the trusses up and windows installed.

Tuesday
Jul 11
4pm | 3c
Season 6, Episode 8

End Game

It's the end of the road for the three builders and their teams of helpful friends, family and handymen. At Point MacKenzie, Dave Poppert fights the cold and snow to finish his home in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Bruce Chambers lucks out when a friend comes to help put the finishing touches his Latouche Island cabin. In Southeast Alaska, Mark Sams and his team scramble to finish their cliff-side cabin on Chichagof Island.

Tuesday
Jul 11
5pm | 4c

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