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?
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 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.
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.
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.