Why he's in it for the long haul

By Kylie Williams

Being an ice road trucker is a lonely life - even with a camera crew aboard.

Hugh Rowland boasts of seeing the best sunsets. Photo / Supplied
Hugh Rowland boasts of seeing the best sunsets. Photo / Supplied

Ice road trucker Hugh Rowland admits that the adrenalin rush he gets from his dangerous job is probably one of the reasons he's done it for 30 years.

Rowland, who is one of the stars of the reality series Ice Road Truckers, says he enjoys the adventurous side of his profession.

"It's like four-wheel driving in a big rig," he says.

"It's pretty adventurous. It's good money. It's been good to me, that's for sure."

But he says any truck driver thinking it's the same as driving on a normal road had better think again.

He says while patience is a virtue when driving on the ice, the job does appeal to adrenalin junkies.

"Everything you learn on the highway goes out the window," he says.

"You break in a different way. You've got to have some patience but it's also an adrenalin rush. So it's a little bit of everything."

The adventurous nature of the job and the good pay attracts many people, but Rowland says he can usually pick those who won't make it through a season.

"I can spot them every time. It's usually somebody who's loud and obnoxious."

And he says those who do make it, learn to respect the conditions they're working under.

"You've got to respect the ice," he says. "It's a dangerous job. If something goes wrong you can die out there. You've got to want to be there. It kind of gets in your blood and if you don't have it, you don't have it."

Rowland says the job can also be a bit lonely.

"You're always by yourself. You're only allowed one person in the truck," he says.

While Rowland is always careful when driving on the ice, he says the harsh conditions mean dangerous incidents are inevitable.

"I've been in accidents up there," he says. "I've been in storms. I spent a week stranded in a snow drift. You can't get out and walk because there's polar bears and there's wolves. Sometimes you wonder why you're up there."

However, Rowland says it's not all bad or he wouldn't do it.

"Every day you see something new," he says. "You see the best sunsets, you see the best sunrises, different wildlife. It's a beautiful country that very few people get to see."

And Rowland isn't just an ice road trucker. The ice trucking season lasts just 60 days a year, so the rest of the year Rowland runs his own construction business.

"I do landscaping, sewer and water and I build roads and parking lots," he explains. And while Rowland may be coming up to his fifth year on the show, he says it hasn't really changed him.


TV preview

What: Reality show Ice Road Truckers, new season

When and where: TV3, tomorrow night 7.30pm


- AAP

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