The long-running show strands two participants in its harshest environment yet

By Steve Helling
March 03, 2019 11:27 AM
Advertisement

The entire point of the show Naked and Afraid is to challenge the survivalists to push themselves to their limits.

For nine seasons, it’s worked like a charm. Two survivalists — a man and a woman — are stripped of all their clothes and dropped into a punishing location. There, they must brave the elements and survive for 21 days. They hunt for food, find fresh water, build shelters and try to work together as a team.

Contestants have been dropped off in all sorts of tropical locations — deserted islands, the tropical rainforest, even the Australian Outback. The contestants are naked, but the days are generally warm. (That said, it can drop down to dangerously cold temperatures, even in the tropics.)

But the season premiere airing on March 3, the long-running Discovery channel mixes things up — dropping two contestants onto the frozen tundra of Alaska. The highs were in the low 40s — and the lows were below freezing. (An exclusive clip is above.)

Credit: Discovery

So who would be crazy enough to get naked in sub-freezing weather? The show selected two of its most experienced survivalists for the challenge. Steven Lee Hall has survived the show in Alabama, South Africa and the Bahamas. His partner, Laura Zerra, has braved Panama, Peru and Colombia.

But being cold is another thing entirely.

“It was beautiful,” Hall, 35, tells PEOPLE, “but some of the most beautiful places on the planet are also the most inhospitable. This was the final frontier.”

Unlike other episodes of the show where people survive for 21 days, this experience was just 14 days. Hall and Zerra were still stripped of their clothes, but they did have a couple of fur pelts for nighttime warmth.

“It was the hardest challenge yet,” says Hall. “Hypothermia is a concern even in the tropics sometimes, but it was constantly on our minds here. Laura and I are both really experienced fire makers, so there was that…but it was so cold.”

And yes, frostbite was an issue.

“You can lose a few digits out there,” says Hall. “The weather can kill you.”

And as a naked man in the tundra, Hall says he had a very specific concern — his penis. “I would lose a finger or a toe before I’d lose that,” he says. “I was in deep snow sometimes, and I thought a lot about how to keep it warm.”

The Discovery Channel tells PEOPLE that the 10th season is full of twists. Survivalists will be put into the most challenging locations to date — an alligator-infested swamp in Florida and an African Kill Zone where they are stalked by lions, dozens of crocodiles and a herd of 100 elephants.

This season also features Naked and Afraid’s first threesome challenge (two girls and a guy) and the first couple to take on this challenge.

Naked and Afraid will premiere Sunday, March 3 (8 p.m. ET) on Discovery Channel.