Crash Course: 5 Things You Missed On Ultimate Survival Alaska

From thawing ice to near-vertical mountain slopes, this season of Ultimate Survival Alaska has stretched the competitors to their limits. But Episode 3 gives each team a chance to shine, with a challenge that takes them through 2,000 feet of snowy ridges, bush-covered slopes and chilly swamps to reach the landing zone at Talachulitna Lake, with an array of gear that suits nearly every team’s strengths.

So when the playing field is leveled, who will come out on top?

Team Endurance


Once again, Team Endurance leads the pack on the leg’s first dash, reaching the insertion flag first. Two-time Iditarod champion Dallas is thrilled to see dog sleds among the equipment cache, and after feeling out of his element during last episode’s ski challenge, it’s his turn to give Lel a crash course in dog sledding. They’re not the only team utilizing sleds, with Military hot on their heels.

As Endurance crests over a hill, Lel loses control and falls off her sled, giving Military the chance they need to pass their rivals.


But there’s no better person to help Endurance regain their lead than Dallas and his world-class mushing skills. Will that be enough?


Team Military

Team Military has come so close to defeating their rivals, Team Endurance, with two close second-race finishes. So for this challenge, they venture out of their comfort zone, strapping on skis and going with the dog sled. After all, how hard could it be?

After passing Endurance, immobilized by Lel’s fall, Military stops to shoot a squirrel – a much needed protein boost. The team begins to feel confident on the dog sleds, until suddenly, one of Jared’s dogs breaks free and runs off into the tundra.

Team Alaskans


Yep, that’s Team Alaskans’ members attempting to ski down a grassy hill. Needless to say, the Alaskans are thrilled to see three pairs of all-terrain skis waiting for them at the flag. As experienced backcountry skiers, the Alaskans set off across the snowy plateau, working through uphill inclines, soggy snow and rocky terrain to travel quickly across the tundra. As they race to the finish line the team encounters the Lower 48, and a land vs. water race ensues.

Team Lower 48


 Can the Alaska newcomers pull it together for a win after two legs of bickering? Luckily, Cluck’s season-long struggles with the Alaska terrain are granted a reprieve. When he finds packrafts at the insertion flag, he knows a river awaits him, and the pro kayaker  is excited to be in his element at last.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the water has swelled in the warm spring temperatures, which doesn’t do much to alleviate Kasha’s fears of fast-moving water. She’s reluctant to take on the rapids.

Kasha falls in the water.
Kasha falls in the water.

And while Cluck does his best to coach her through the turbulent whitewater, she takes a harrowing spill into the rapids. Luckily, she makes it out unscathed, and the team continues racing the Alaskans to lead the pack.

And the winner is… Team Alaskans! Their prodigious skiing skills turned the tables on the competition, as they edged out the surging Team Lower 48 to capture the flag. Team Military came in third, still winless after putting up strong performances, and previous leg winners Team Endurance come in fourth.

Watch leg winners Team Alaskans talk about pranking the competition in this exclusive video diary, and don’t forget to make your predictions for each leg of the competition on our Survival Competition Tracker.


  1. ann rhodes
    January 13, 2015, 4:47 pm

    Hi, I really like the national geographic channel, but when you allowed drugs inc. you went from a 10 to a -0 you have kids watching these shows, how degrading, no wonder the world is so full of crime. Where is God the Almighty. I sure hope he comes again soon, who ever allowed this show should be canned with a capial C

  2. Paula Hardin
    January 13, 2015, 10:14 pm

    Interesting shows, but music much too loud, especially on the Pioneers. Difficult at times to hear the narrator or the “pioneers” speaking. Very intrusive and annoying.

  3. Matt MacNeal
    January 14, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Hi Ann Rhodes, nobody cares what you think to be brutally honest. This article had nothing to do with drug inc so why even bring it up? How stupid can some people be? But with that being said I think ultimate survival Alaska is a phenomenal show.. Go Endurance team!!

  4. Donna
    January 16, 2015, 3:29 pm

    News Flash People: This show is so fake it is not funny. I cannot believe people actually fall for this garbage. I checked it out because of the wonderful reputation Nat Geo has had throughout the years and was so disappointed by this terrible show. I do watch it sometimes when I want a good laugh. Especially when I can pinpoint where a person is going to end up in trouble and ultimately yells for help and it breaks for commercial. Obviously when they return from the commercial everything is just fine. I loved the one where someone got caught up in the river and he grapped on to a rock but that would not have made for good enough tv so you could see him purposely let go and go down the 1 foot deep river. TOO MUCH.

  5. Missy Sizemore
    January 18, 2015, 12:09 pm

    Love the show!! Just cannot stand the ugliness that comes out of Sweeney….I mute the TV every time he is on the screen bc he is so nasty to his what are supposed to be team mates!! He is all about 100% Sweeney! But wow, how nasty is Sweeney….

  6. Truth Be Told
    January 27, 2015, 3:16 pm

    Episode 3; yet another lie-filled episode in the books.

    So what’s wrong this this one? Well, we’re told that the teams have to traverse 40 miles from the insertion point to the extraction point at Talachulitna Lake. 40 miles?! Not even close. They were dropped off at 61.64332° North, 151.72784° West. The straight-line distance from there to Talachulitna Lake is 5.5 miles. Just so you understand, that’s five-point-five miles. So with the teams following the terrain, rivers, etc., it’s reasonable that the total distance they had to cover was more like 7 miles, maybe 8 miles maximum. So, 60 hours, minus the 8 hours of mandatory rest time, to go 8 miles. That’s a blistering pace of 0.15 mile per hour!! They call this a RACE?! It’s not a race. It’s just a series of staged, pre-planned, so-called “challenges” that the teams are put through, interspersed with hours and hours of off-camera downtime spent with the film crew.

    Ultimate Survivor Alaska – watch it for entertainment and laughs, but DON’T EVER think it’s a bona fide race. It’s just make-believe TV.