If you’re racing across Alaska, you better know how to ski. That’s a lesson the four Ultimate Survival Alaska teams learn the hard way when they’re dropped at the top of a nearly-vertical, 7000-foot mountain teams and handed skies, snowboards and climbing rope. The mission for Endurance, Military, Alaskans and Lower 48 is simple: descend the mountain in any way they can.
From ski-averse competitors to bickering teams, the second part of USA‘s riveting premiere is a dramatic hustle to the finish line. Will Team Endurance extend their winning streak to two legs, or will Team Military avenge their close loss? With Team Alaskans in their element for this challenge, will their ski expertise be enough to put them on top? And can Team Lower 48 stop quarreling long enough to win? We revisit the episode’s best moments.
1. Dallas don’t ski
Coming off a win in the competition’s first leg, Team Endurance starts strong. The team crests the a thousand-foot scree slope to reach the flag first, receiving a map and the first pick of gear. However, Dallas isn’t thrilled when he sees what’s inside the equipment cache – skis. Although he’s a lifelong Alaskan and Iditarod champion, Dallas somehow has no skiing experience.
So when the team reaches the real challenge, the towering stretch of icy mountain they need to conquer, Ben and Lel step up to lead the team’s precarious descent. And when the team’s route down the mountain leads them to a dangerous ice cliff, Ben uses his training as a rope access technician to guide the team down safely – even after Dallas loses a ski.
Once the team gets off the mountain and into the brush, Dallas is back in his element, guiding his team while leading the competition in first place.
2. Alaskan instincts
There couldn’t be a more perfect challenge for Team Alaskans than skiing down a massive incline. They reach the flag second behind Team Endurance, and decide on a direct route down the mountain, confident that their skiing skills are up to the task. But the team’s eagerness gets the better of them, as they work up a breakneck pace that sends Tyler flying head over heels into the snow.
3. 48 problems, but a win ain’t one
Team Lower 48 is leading the competition in dysfunction. In speed? Not so much. Bad blood is already brewing between Cluck, a Southern boy who’s still getting accustomed to Alaska’s terrain, and old-timer Sweeney, who has no patience for newcomers slowing him down. The team reaches the flag in third place, and Kasha attempts to lead the team down the mountain. Unsurprisingly, Cluck has a little trouble on his snowboard, and soon ditches it to finish the descent on foot.
The team loses the lead they’d gained, falling into a distant fourth and bickering the rest of the way.
4. Boot camp
Stinging from a close loss to Endurance in the competition’s first leg, Team Military reaches the flag in last place. Skiing isn’t the team’s forte, so to make up for lost time, Military decides to skip the ski slopes entirely and rappel down the mountain instead. Capitalize on their military ropes training, the team hustles down the mountain.
However, newcomer Daniel is still acclimating to the competition. After a tough climb down the mountain, he frustrates his teammates by venturing into a bear cave. In third place, Military has no time to lose.
5. Going the distance
On the last stretch of the race, things get heated. Team Lower 48 can’t keep it together, frustrated and lost, and Sweeney snaps at Cluck.
Military is closing in on the last flag, but can’t quite get their bearings. Looking to prove himself, Daniel steps up and takes over navigation duty.
But they’re not quite fast enough. Leading the pack for the entire leg, Endurance navigates the brush and captures the final flag first, winning their second leg in a row – just ahead of Team Military.
Team Alaskans finish in third, and Marty is a little bitter about it.
Bringing up the rear is Team Lower 48, who finishes with just minutes left on the clock.
Which team do you think will prevail this season? Make your predictions for each leg of the competition on our Survival Competition Tracker here.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the competition, check out an all-new Team Endurance video diary entry: