Who Are The Barks From 'Sons of Winter'? This Reality TV Family Is Taking On Canada's Freezing Wilderness

Winter is coming. Well, more accurately winter, the season, is ending — at least I hope it is — but Sons of Winter is going to premiere on the Discovery channel on April 28. And if you, like me, have been complaining on end that this spring just isn't warming up fast enough, this show will shut you right up. It follows one family that's decided to live the pioneer lifestyle — no Amazon.com, no Whole Foods, no Chipotle — in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada. As a family rite of passage, they're sending their two eldest sons out into the sub-arctic wilderness for a 90-day test of survival to turn them into real woodsmen. Who would do such a thing? Just who is the Barks family, the focus of Sons of Winter?

There are five members of the Barks family, as described on Discovery's website: patriarch Randy, the nature-lover and decision-maker; Tara, the devoted mother; 20-year-old Dale, whose show bio calls him "highly intelligent and often overconfident"; 19-year-old Shane, who is praised for his strong work ethic; and 15-year-old Kole, the youngest. Kole will have to step up his responsibilities at home while Dale and Shane head off into the woods for their epic (and possibly unsurvivable) journey.

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Here are some other things to know about the Barks family.

They Get By Trapping & Trading

As Discovery describes, they run a trapline — which Randy, Tara, and Kole will have to keep running by themselves while Dale and Shane are gone — and then trade animal meat for their basic necessities. And we're talking traps that they make themselves with logs and stuff. (I've never had to trap anything myself except mice, and I just went down to Home Depot to buy plastic-and-metal ones.) It's pretty much everything you imagined in Oregon Trail. 

And They're Not the Only Ones

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You'd think it'd take a singular kind of personality to get by trapping and trading in the Canadian winter, but the Barks family is not alone. Their next-door neighbors, "Grandma and Grandpa Griz," also live the same way. Grandpa Griz is 73 years old. Now don't you feel like the most coddled person on the planet for complaining the last time Netflix went down?

Their Cabin Is Old-School

As you can see on the show's cabin tour, there's no running water — just a hand pump in the kitchen. There is electricity from solar panels. The Barks built the cabin themselves with trees from the area, and didn't even use that much machinery to assemble it. Your college dorm room was a five-star hotel in comparison.

This Isn't Faked Reality-Show Isolation

Discovery reports that, when they're on their own, Dale and Shane will really be on their own. The network says that, if they get hurt, the trip to the nearest hospital would take two whole days.

There's Already Conflict Brewing Between Dale & Shane

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It looks like, while on their 90-day survival tour, Shane might decide he's better at being the leader than his dreamy older brother. As a kid sister, I know what it's like to want to be in charge. Team Shane!

The Family Has A Pet Lynx

Its name is Cabela, and Tara takes care of it. (It's not one of the lynx pictured above, but aren't they cute?) It makes sense that such a tough family wouldn't be satisfied with a regular housecat, right? Their pet is basically a wild animal.

Images: Discovery Channel (4); Giphy

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