Three men set out to build three cabins in remote areas of the Alaskan Frontier. They will make preparations in the harsh Alaskan winter and race against time, the bitter cold, and the wilderness to complete their builds. Using their various skills sets and techniques, three different cabins will be constructed that will all need to hold up in some of the most harsh conditions in the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Three new couples challenge the Alaskan elements. Mike and Kathleen Kondus build atop a windy tundra, first-time builders Mike and Teresa Oldenkamp construct a complex cabin and Paige Drobny and Cody Strathe create a dog-training facility on haunted land.
Paige and Cody realize they don't have the correct insulation for their log walls. Kathleen and Mike's team get dangerously high up to install the ridge beam. Mike and Teresa begin work on their floor, but discover the joists are not evenly spaced.
Mike and Kathleen move to interior work, but the remote location is still slow with progress. At Paige and Cody's site, mechanical failures prevent the project from finishing before dog sled season. As Mike and Teresa build higher, it gets more dangerous.
The Konduses fight the rain and shattered window panes deep in the White Mountains. Mike and Teresa's team gets stuck on slippery scaffolding 19 feet in the air while Paige and Cody's build stalls thanks to a material ordering snafu near the deadline.
It's a race to the finish as Paige and Cody wrap up before dog racing season in Cantwell while Mike and Kathleen lose all their help deep in the White Mountains. Meanwhile, the Oldenkamps struggle with the challenges of working on a grain-bin-style cabin.