Critics have mocked the show as so much staged entertainment and not the deadly wilderness match it purports to be. But who cares, this is reality TV.
In the finale on Sunday night, the four teams raced to summit Augustine Volcano, a 4,100-foot peak rising across Cook Inlet from Homer. Team Endurance ultimately beat out three other teams to win, including the all-Alaska "Mountaineers."
In a press release, Ahyakak got a shout-out from Arctic Slope Regional Corp., the state's wealthiest homegrown corporation, where Ahyakak is a board member. Seavey is out mushing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and pulled into the checkpoint of White Mountain in third place Monday morning. The team also included Sean Burch, an endurance athlete from Virginia.
Ahyakak helps operate the ASRC-owned PetroStar, a Fairbanks refinery.
"It was a huge honor to represent our people in a way that is consistent with our Iñupiaq values and to share some of our amazing culture with the world," said Ahyakak, who donned a traditional white parka in contests. "I hope it inspires our young kids to work hard and to believe in themselves."
Contact Alex DeMarban at alex(at)alaskadispatch.com