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March 04

Parker Schnabel Can't Lose


Gold Rush is about amateur gold mining near the Arctic Circle, where in some places gold sits just under eight feet of dirt. It's about every man's dream to dig a big hole. Hell, as a child I dug The Great Pit of Carkoon in our back yard. By the next morning it inexplicably filled with leeches and Lando Calrissian was gone. I'm not joking about that. But the holes in Alaska are an even more expensive gamble. Todd Hoffman and a cadre of displaced workers dared challenge the permafrost for a shot at glory.

By the time the narrow, four month mining window had ended, they found themselves with 5oz of gold each. That's eight thousand dollars for four months work. That's a hair over the poverty level, bitches. That's the American dream.

Hoffman, whose blind faith in their *ahem* prospects, re-energized after every failure, is like Chicken Little with a ZZ Top beard. He knows gold is down there, but they find no gold. He's sure there will be 10oz in the next clean-out, they find four. He promises you there's a gold nugget the size of a pickup truck - no, seriously, he made that claim.

By the end of the second season, factoring the hundreds of thousands they spent on setup, they hadn't quite broken even. I'm sure in another year, they'll find themselves slightly better off than never having gone mining at all.