|'Ultimate Survivor: Alaska' Feels Like Home for Brothers|
|By GIO BENITEZ (@GioBenitez) and MARY COMPTON||May 17, 2013, 3:18 PM|
Eight explorers-turned-contestants risk their lives in a test of survival, living off the land for two months, while enduring 3,000 miles of Alaska's wildest terrain.
This is the premise of On National Geographic's "Ultimate Survivor: Alaska," which airs Sundays at 9 p.m. The goal is to complete 10 different hikes.
Working as teams, contestants must get from Point A to Point B in less than 72 hours. Missing the deadline means missing a flight on the extraction plane, which could leave them stranded for days.
But for two of the contestants, this hardcore lifestyle is second nature.
Brothers Dallas, 26, and Tyrell, 28, Seavey, originally from Seaward, Alaska, spent their childhood in the state's rugged outdoors.
"Going into the wilderness was not like a weekend trip or even a special thing, this was what we did," Dallas said. "We grew up training sled dogs to race the Iditarod."
Tyrell said, "For us it is very natural to be outside, in the weather, whether it's rain or snow or sun, and so to take that one further step and accomplish different challenges and treks along the way, it's not a big step for us."
Indeed, their grandfather co-founded the famous Iditarod sled dog race. And Dallas became the youngest person ever to win it last year.
He convinced his brother to join him this year on National Geographic's new series.
"It was one of those deals where they came up a guy short at the last second," Tyrell said. "I got a phone call, and an hour later I was on the road."
But even with all heir confidence, the brothers said they had to go into parts of Alaska they had never been before.
"Having my brother on this trip was very valuable for both of us," Dallas said. "When you get thrown in a situation like this with seven other random people, it is really hard because you don't know what to expect from each person. ... We both are very good at taking care of ourselves. We are dependent on each other, but at the same time, we work together very well."
The spirit and the body are tested on the show. Contestants have to forage for their own food. On their first hike to Takahula Lake, the Seavey brothers ran into a downpour and couldn't light a fire. They only had two boxes of matches for the entire trip.
They were left eating uncooked rice and beans, and much-needed calories were just the beginning of their struggles.
"You're basically lost and that could be extremely frustrating," Tyrell said. "You're cold, you're wet, and you have no idea where you're going."
At the end of the challenges, there is no prize, only the triumph of survival and the glory of being king of the wilderness.
"You really test yourself to see how you react when the rubber really hits the road. I love that," Dallas said. "It's an opportunity. You have to look at adversity as an opportunity and find a way out."