Although Ice Road Truckers was cancelled back in 2017, the History Channel reality TV show gave the world a look at the crazy trucking jobs in Alaska and Northern Canada. On IRT, we saw big rig drivers like Lisa Kelly, Rick Yemm, and Alex Debogorski take on freezing temperatures, while driving across icy roads and frozen lakes.
It’s no secret that this can be a pretty dangerous job, but you know what they say: high risk, high reward. These folks have the potential to earn a whole year’s salary in only a couple winter months, making it a tempting offer for those truck drivers out there looking to make some real money. How much do these ice road trucking jobs pay, though? Is it worth it? Well, let’s talk a little more about the job and look at some numbers.
If this were an easy truck driver job, everyone would be doing it. There’s an extremely high turnover rate for trucking companies in this environment, since you’ve got to know what you’re doing out there. It’s not exactly something you start right out of truck driving school. Most drivers on the ice have years of experience under their belt before even considering going out there. However, If you can handle it, the rewards can be pretty significant.
The Salary of an Ice Road Trucker
Of course, there are lots of variables involved when it comes to the pay in the trucking industry. That being said, when you’re driving on some of the deadliest roads in North America, you can count on one thing, and that’s high payment.
So, here’s the deal. Some truckers have reported that they’ve made $100,000 in one winter season. While that would be ideal, this is definitely the higher end of pay, so it’s not very common to see that. It does depend on which company you are driving for. On average, CDL drivers make around $40,000 driving through the icy and snowy areas. While you might think this is low, you do need to consider that the short season only consists of about three or four months of work. Making close to $50,000 in that short time is pretty damn good.
Comparing that to full-time workers driving OTR for a company like Walmart, they can make around $70,000 per year on safer roads. You could make over half of that amount in a quarter of the time driving on ice roads. If that driver decides to work for the rest of the year after that, they can make an income well into six figures. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the risk, and if you’re willing to take it. Now, you’d also need a clean driving record to even be considered for the job.
For many, the money is what keeps them sticking around, regardless of the danger that lingers around constantly. People that do this job will also need to understand that they’ll spend a good portion of the year far away from loved ones, so it’s best to consider all factors before diving into it. You can earn a good income, there’s no doubt about that, but only the individual can decide whether or not it is worth it in the end.