Monday, April 6, 2009

Nenana Ice Classic 2009: UPDATE

Ice out, here
Update II
Original post:
All bets are locked!
As a followup to "Big Global Warming/Cooling/Staying Pretty Much the Same Betting Opportunity" we have this story from the Fairbanks News-Miner:

Will deeper snow this winter mean an earlier breakup on the Tanana River this spring?

That’s the $300,000 question — give or take a few grand — facing folks who are planning to buy tickets for the Nenana Ice Classic.

The last day to buy tickets for Alaska’s richest guessing game is Sunday, and they have to be dropped into one of the Classic’s trademark fire-engine red ticket cans by midnight.

At this point, it’s anybody’s guess when the ice will go out on the Tanana River.

“I think it’s going to be a May breakup,” Ice Classic organizer Cherrie Forness said, “but I’ve been wrong many times before.”

The 93-year-old Ice Classic, a contest in which people pay $2.50 per ticket to guess the exact date and time — to the minute — the Tanana River will break up, is a popular tradition in Alaska.

Each March, a wooden tripod is set up on the Tanana River ice at Nenana. When it appears the ice is approaching breakup, a cable from the tripod is connected to a clock in a watchtower on shore. When the tripod moves, the cable tightens and stops the clock to determine the official time of breakup.

More than 240,000 tickets were sold last year to people hoping to hit the jackpot, which amounted to $303,895. Colleen Cloutier of Anchorage became the richest winner in Ice Classic history when she guessed correctly that the ice would go out at 10:53 p.m. on May 6. It was only the 10th time in the 92-year history of the event that there was a single winner.

While this winter has been colder and snowier than the past several, the ice thickness this year is almost identical to what it was at this time last year. The ice measured 45 inches thick on Thursday compared to 45.6 inches on April 3 last year. But it’s the weather in April, not the ice thickness in March, that plays the biggest role in when the ice goes out, Forness said....MORE

Who will ever forget the excitement they felt last May 6?

I don't know if I can handle the fever pitch of expectation for another month!

From the Contest's Website:

Official Past Winning Times and Dates.

Official Ice Thickness

Official Ice Conditions:

The Tanana River is currently frozen solid from bank to bank.
The tripod was set up on the Tanana River March 8, beginning April 6 we
will be taking ice measurements every Monday and Thursday.

The measurement will be available on our website as well as our
answering system. We have had a cold spring so far,
last week temperatures dipped as low as -20 degrees
in the evening and got as high as 15 degrees during the day,
with 15 mile an hour winds.