LIfe below Zero is a reality show that delivers exactly what's advertised: the life of people living in sub-zero temperatures. 

The show documents days in the life of people who live in one of the coldest places on the planet — north of the Arctic Circle. 

That being said, the show still falls squarely into the "reality show" umbrella, and if we're being honest, historically, they haven't been as real as the showrunners lead us to believe

Inevitably, the fans and even casual watchers of the show wonder, "Is Life below Zero real?"

Well, there are parts to the answer that can only be described at length. Okay, maybe there is a shorter version, but this way, it'd make more sense. 

Susan Aikens' life below zero

Susan Aikens' life below zero (Source: Instagram)

The Reality of 'Life below Zero'

The show really does deliver on the promise of giving its viewers the flexibility of experiencing the ruthless Arctic tundra from the warmth of their living rooms, and the people being featured are real people who have lived in those regions. 

Take for example, Susan Aikens and her episodes from Kavik River Camp, which is on the North Slope of Alaska.

Known as one of the most remote B&Bs in the world, the Kavik River Camp accommodations cater to those who are truly comfortable with the isolation that the Arctic typically calls for, or so The Travel reports. 

The only one to keep you company if you ever so happen to be in that neck of the woods would be Aikens.

She had this to say about guests showing up at her abode 197 miles north of the Arctic Circle near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:

Hunters do come up during the month of August but that leaves 11 other months. I call it a twisted bed and breakfast. I don’t care why you want to be in the Arctic. I will cook you breakfast, drink single malt with you and tell you stories.

Rest assured, the environment Life below Zero filmed her in was what she called home. However, asking if everything depicted on the show was real is a different ball game. 


A post shared by Susan Aikens (@sueaikens)

A Cast Member Sued 'Life below Zero'

According to Anchorage Daily News, the stunts performed on the show are as real as they get.

During the filming of a season five episode titled 'The Crash,' which aired June through December 2015, Aikens "heard her bones snap" when she ended up hitting an ice heave and was thrown off from her snow machine. 

However, in the lawsuit she later filed, she claimed that the accident resulted from the production forcing her to do something that she wouldn't usually do as part of her usual routine. 

In fact, she claimed that despite her outright refusing to partake in the scene, the producer Aaron Mellmar pulled rank on her and the rest of the safety personnel to make her do the scene. 

Not just that, after the B&B host suffered a fracture while filming, he supposedly refused to call an emergency rescue team via plane because he wanted to get the footage that would capture the audience's attention. 


A post shared by Susan Aikens (@sueaikens)

Is Life below Zero real?

So, to answer the question, Life below Zero is a living reality for the people whose lives were being featured for the show, but the show wasn't necessarily free of the scripting that so many other reality shows are guilty of. 

What makes things all the more complex was the fact that the production going out of their way to make a show like this more dramatic than it really was could cause serious injuries and, god forbid, death!

After all, the Arctic is every bit as ruthless as it is thought to be.