'Yukon Men' and 'Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice' fuel Discovery Channel's Alaska fascination

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Fridays, Discovery Channel continues its fascination with Alaska with two reality-based hourlong shows, airing back to back.

First up is "Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice," a five-part series from executive producer Thom Beers ( "Deadliest Catch," "Ax Men," "Ice Road Truckers") that takes off from his existing Discovery show, "Bering Sea Gold," in which miners seek gold under the waters off Nome during the summer. That's dangerous enough, but here, they venture out to explore beneath four feet of solid ice in winter.

The show follows three gold-mining teams and their driven skippers, who rely on courage, clear thinking, focus and cooperation to wrest treasure from the seabed without losing their lives to frigid water, whipping winds and frostbite.

Nancy Daniels, Discovery's executive vice president for production and development, tells Zap2it, "The American dream is very much alive, though as you can see on 'Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice,' people are finding it in the most unlikely and challenging places.

"Cutting a hole through four-feet-thick ice and diving to the bottom of the Bering Sea, these modern-day gold miners show their determination and grit, and the depths they will go to, to earn a living."

Following that is "Yukon Men," which documents Tanana, a community of 200 - despite the title, both men and women are profiled -- in the remote interior of Alaska with wolves all around and no roads in or out. Not all the residents are natives of the land, but all of them have to learn how to live off it to survive Alaska's long, brutal winters.

The Tanana residents are Boston-raised Stan, a 40-year Alaska veteran who counts his 14 sled dogs among the members of his family; Stan's 21-year-old son, Joey, whose independent streak causes conflicts; hunter and trapper Charlie, whose chief goal is to provide for his family; Charlie's son Robert, who has trouble measuring up; logger James, the quiet but intense father of four sons; and frontier woman Courtney, who runs a team of sled dogs and is the town furrier but who must seek help when a wolf threatens her home and daughter.
Photo/Video credit: Discovery