Arctic Wisdom: Sue Goes Down

Sue Aikens embodies resilience. The sole resident of Kavik, Alaska, Sue run a camp by herself and lives a completely self-sufficient life. She’s survived floods, storms and bear attacks, and stays sane living in complete solitude for much of the year. It’s hard to think of anything that can take Sue down.

On this week’s episode of Life Below Zero, we find out that Sue – contrary to popular belief – is not invincible.


Winter has arrived in Kavik, and Sue has already handled defending her camp from bears and stocking up on food. With the pre-freeze legwork completed, Sue just needs to maintain her state of living throughout the winter months, winning the war of attrition against the constant freeze. However, Mother Nature has other plans.

On one snowy day, Sue needs to reach her food, but her freezer door is snowed in. It’s a minor issue for Sue, but weeks of battling the winter has taken a toll on Sue’s health.



Sue’s strength and determination to survive in the Arctic may be limitless, but her physical mobility can’t quite keep up with her energy. And during yet another afternoon of shoveling snow, something goes wrong.

One wrong move, and Sue throws out her back. Now, her mobility is severely limited, rendering her unable to perform her daily routines. Sue needs to be mobile – to clear her runway, to fight off predators, and at the very least, to walk to her freezer. At her camp, she brews some herbal tea and hopes for the pain to subside, but quickly realizes she needs some stronger medicine.


With her camp located hundreds of miles from civilization, trekking for medicine isn’t a job Sue can complete alone. Luckily, one of her buddies with a helicopter happens to be traveling near Kavik, and agrees to pick up some medicine for Sue. The pills aren’t cheap, but Sue is willing to pay the steep price to get back on her feet fast.

Find out what happens on an all-new Life Below Zero Thursday at 9P and tweet with Sue LIVE. Just follow @SueAikens on twitter and she’ll be interacting with fans during the premiere.


  1. bob
    May 30, 2014, 3:25 am

    sue is definitely a tough chick, gotta give her that. but personally I don’t think she’s interesting to watch at all. i don’t know how many times i’ve heard and seen basically the same thing from her, sue walking around camp doing chores or whatever and talking in her tough girl attitude about how hard it is to live in alaska or how important her oil is or about getting attacked by a bear (the bear attack was definitely more interesting to hear the first time, but i seriously think that was brought up in at least 4 episodes now).

    so i wish her well but again, im really tired of watching her tell me how you gotta be tough to live in alaska. that dead horse has been beaten, and the tough girl attitude is starting to get a little annoying just imo…

    p.s. andy is my favorite guy on the show, he is incredibly impressive and the sled dogs are awesome! lets see more of him. also, more of erik going out on difficult/exotic hunts, those are cool too

  2. higgsb
    white plains ny
    May 30, 2014, 9:38 am

    Eric is a serial killer in disguise. It is probably a good thing he can sublimation his urges ( to kill ) with animals. Definitely don’t want this guy I’m my neighborhood!!!

  3. higgsb
    May 30, 2014, 9:42 am

    I meant to write “sublimate”.AND, Sue is way cool. Brave and compassionate.

  4. Glenn Martin
    May 31, 2014, 12:07 pm

    That wasn’t much of a fall for Sue to have so much pain, she landed on soft snow. Maybe I’m wrong but her fall didn’t seem bad to me. Either way, get well soon Sue!

  5. Sandy Surface
    Toledo, Ohio
    June 12, 2014, 12:55 am

    I would absolutely love to spend a month with Sue. What better way to get to know yourself than being completely isolated and dependent only on yourself. I’m really a sand and ocean person, but Alaska would be a fabulous opportunity. Sandy

  6. J
    N. Idaho
    January 2, 2015, 2:54 am

    I think Sue is wonderful. I am a little older than her and I can’t imagine doing the kind of work she needs to do in Kavik just to stay alive. Try trudging through snow, hunting, gardening, getting your water from a river, shoveling snow from her place and all of those huge outbuildings, keeping abreast of the weather and transmitting that to planes and people that need to land by plane there, watching out and protecting herself from predators, entertaining visitors, fixing all the many things that break down etc. etc. In a place like that there is almost no free time and little rest, it is all about surviving. I would love to know a place I could email her at, does anyone know?