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 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 29
7pm | 6c
Season 3, Episode 12

The Final Push

Lee is down to just a crew of three as he races to finish the interior of the cabin before the lake freezes over and prevents their floatplane from landing. Tony's crew discovers a serious miscalculation that will force them to miss their deadline unless a miracle occurs, and Derek and his crew push through the endless rainfall, dangerous conditions and dwindling materials to complete the project.

Saturday
Apr 4
2am | 1c
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.

Tuesday
Jul 7
7pm | 6c
Season 3, Episode 8

Panic Button

Lee's crew must push through waves of mosquitoes and fatigue to finish the deck of their Bulchitna Lake build before the floatplane arrives to take them home for a day of rest. In Haines, Tony and his crew wrestle the largest and heaviest pieces of the build into place without any kind of machinery, and Derek pushes the panic button after more bad weather and mechanical problems delay his build once again.

Friday
Sep 4
7pm | 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.

Saturday
Sep 26
2pm | 1c
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.

Monday
Sep 28
6pm | 5c
Season 3, Episode 11

The Finest Moment

Lee and his crew install a new woodstove to dry out the drywall mud and tape, and while he's waiting, Lee takes time to enjoy everything Alaska has to offer. Derek and his band of ski buddies race to protect the cabin from bears and construct homegrown countertops from materials on the site. And Tony finally makes it to the roofing stage of his Porcupine Creek build while his build partner Bob takes a new gig felling trees for a local homeowner.

Friday
Nov 13
3am | 2c
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
Jan 16
11am | 10c
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
Jan 23
12pm | 11c
Season 5, Episode 1

Family Legacy

The three build teams kick off their builds in unique, remote Alaskan settings. Adam Tschappat and his family begin building a Family Legacy cabin in the Wrangell Mountains. Mike Williams and his family begin building a guest cabin in Eagle Song, near Mt. Susitna. And Steve Box and his builder friends, Dave Bartlett and Hans Moser, begin an Island Getaway on Shelter Island, near Juneau.

Friday
Feb 5
1pm | 12c
Season 5, Episode 8

Cody Saves The Day

Builder Mike Williams' son Cody comes up with a fix for their pressure washer problem in order to peel the logs for their cabin build in Eagle Song. Dave and Hans work through extreme weather fluctuations and muscle heavy beams in place for the second floor on their cabin build on Shelter Island. Builder Adam Tschappat is a bag short of cement to complete the foundation for his cabin and his team worries as he is nowhere to be found in the Wrangell Mountains.

Sunday
Mar 20
4pm | 3c
Season 4, Episode 8

It's Getting Awkward

Rich's build is down to two workers which will make it tough to reach their milestones, nothing but wall-to-wall trouble may cause Tom's build to come tumbling down and Creig's build is fraught with costly miscalculations and tensions with Jim.

Friday
Mar 25
2pm | 1c
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.

Wednesday
Jun 29
12pm | 11c
Season 5, Episode 6

Whackin' and Stackin'

Builder Mike Williams' plans to catch up backfire while preparing the cabin structure for earthquakes in Eagle Song. Dave and Hans start laying the floor while having fun at their client's expense on Shelter Island. Builder Adam Tschappat battles 100 years of brush for his Family Legacy cabin and Adam takes a hit in the Wrangell Mountains.

Monday
Jan 16
9am | 8c
Season 5, Episode 7

Plywood Don't Lie

Builder Mike Williams and his team gain some ground, but can they keep it while laying plywood over the cabin's foundation in Eagle Song? Dave and Hans try and get reacquainted with their build and it reminds them how little time and how much work they have left on Shelter Island. Builder Adam Tschappat comes face to face with his biggest fear for his cabin's success in the Wrangell Mountains.

Monday
Jan 16
10am | 9c
Season 5, Episode 8

Cody Saves The Day

Builder Mike Williams' son Cody comes up with a fix for their pressure washer problem in order to peel the logs for their cabin build in Eagle Song. Dave and Hans work through extreme weather fluctuations and muscle heavy beams in place for the second floor on their cabin build on Shelter Island. Builder Adam Tschappat is a bag short of cement to complete the foundation for his cabin and his team worries as he is nowhere to be found in the Wrangell Mountains.

Monday
Jan 16
11am | 10c
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.

Monday
Jan 16
12pm | 11c
Season 5, Episode 10

Alaskan Mobile Home

Builder Mike Williams falls further behind schedule due to wet weather and unforseen obstacles in Eagle Song. On Shelter Island, builders Dave Bartlett and Hans Moser get a surprise visit and much needed help to finish the cabin, but they still need to make a trip to town in order to complete the build. Builder Adam Tschappat disassembles his cabin at the log yard and begins transporting it to his build site in the Wrangell Mountains.

Monday
Jan 16
1pm | 12c
Season 5, Episode 11

The Big Lift

Builder Mike Williams and his team get the rafters and roofing underway on his cabin but with no lack of challenges in Eagle Song. On Shelter Island, builders Dave Bartlett and Hans Moser are on their own with setting the extremely heavy ridge beam until help arrives. Builder Adam Tschappat successfully transports all of his logs to his build site in the Wrangell Mountains and gets the massive floor to the cabin laid out.

Monday
Jan 16
2pm | 1c
Season 5, Episode 12

Lost in Logs

On Shelter Island, Dave Bartlett and Hans Moser have not one, but two 700-hundred pound ridgepoles to set. Over at EagleSong, running out of weatherproofing, and a last minute design change, forces Mike Williams to forge ahead in dodgy weather. For builder Adam Tschappat, a faster pace comes to a screeching halt when two crucial logs go missing at his build site in McCarthy.

Monday
Jan 16
3pm | 2c
Season 5, Episode 13

Bush Alaska Approved

It's do or die time for all of the builders. The tides become the ultimate decider for Dave, Hans, and Steve, and send Steve to the workshop. For builder Adam and his family, the weather can't dampen their excitement as they finish their legacy cabin build. Over at EagleSong, Mike is racing the first snowfall, can the family that builds together, stay together?

Monday
Jan 16
4pm | 3c
Season 4, Episode 6

Independence Day

Rich and his team race to stay ahead of the helicopter drops. Is a new builder on Tom's site a friend or foe? And an eight point earthquake leaves Creig's build on shaky ground.

Monday
Feb 20
9am | 8c
Season 4, Episode 7

Don't Try This At Home

Creig's carpenter Jim pays the ultimate price for building alone in remote Alaska, Rich's crew performs a balancing act to get out of the mud and a worst-case scenario nails Tom's build and it's old school techniques to the rescue.

Monday
Feb 20
10am | 9c
Season 4, Episode 8

It's Getting Awkward

Rich's build is down to two workers which will make it tough to reach their milestones, nothing but wall-to-wall trouble may cause Tom's build to come tumbling down and Creig's build is fraught with costly miscalculations and tensions with Jim.

Monday
Feb 20
11am | 10c
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 4, Episode 10

No Quit

While gale-force winds create danger for Tom's team, and rainy conditions threaten Creig's build, Sitka is nothing but sunny which provides the perfect conditions for Rich to have a whale of a good time.

Monday
Feb 20
1pm | 12c

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