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View of official Nenana Ice Classic tripod looking north from Nenana
The tripod on the Tanana River 2007


This is the final big Alaskan event marking our entry into summer: the original Nenana Ice Classic--the only legal statewide gambling event. This started with workers from the Alaska Railroad. In those days the line terminated at Nenana--stopped by the Tanana River which would not be bridged until 1923. 

Participants must purchase a $2.50 ticket and list their best guess of the date and time of the ice going out at an officially-selected point marked by a tripod on the Tanana River in front of the old railroad depot at Nenana.  The earliest the ice has gone out was the 20th of April. The latest was the 20th of May.


Ice measurements for the 2008 Nenana Ice Classic


 


2008   ice measurements                                Last years event, 2007 selected ice measurements:


11-Jan 38.8 Inches                                           11-Jan 40.5 Inches


21-Jan 44.0 Inches                                             7-Feb 42.0 Inches  


15-Feb 41.0 Inches                                          14-Feb 44.0 Inches


3-Mar 51.0 Inches                                              8-Mar 46.5 Inches


10-Mar 44.5 Inches    
                                                                             12-Mar 46.0 Inches      


 
Selected Previous Official Breakups:



2007:  3:47pm on 27 April


2006:  5:29pm on   2 May


2005:  12:01pm on 28 April


2004:   2:16pm on 24 April


2003:   6:22pm on 22 April


2002:   9:27pm on  7 May


2001:   1:00pm on 8 May


2000:  10:47am on 1 May


1998:    4:52pm on 20 April   earliest date ice ever went out


1995:   1:22pm on 26 April


1964:  11:41am on 20 May  latest time ice ever went out


1940:  3:27pm on 20 April    earliest time and date ice ever went out


1917:   11:30am on 30 April  first Ice Classic Event


 


 I will keep you posted.


 
 

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Google-Earth image of Nenana Area:
Confluence of the Nenana River with the Tanana. The Nenana River always goes out first, setting the stage for the break-up of the Tanana River.
Context of Nenana to selected Alaskan locations (click)
 

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from the Nenana Ice Classic official website as of this morning:



The current conditions on the Tanana River are as follows:

The Tanana River is showing signs of rotting ice, there are holes now forming in the ice. Soon we will see water boiling up through the holes and channels being cut into the rotten ice. There is water on both banks of the river, some of the anchor ice has broken loose. There are channels being cut into the ice and there are some large holes about a mile up river from the Tripod. The river has risen about 3.5 feet over the past week. The Nenana River went out in the late afternoon on April 28th, which typically means the Tanana River will go out about a 7 to 10 days after the Nenana River goes out. The temperatures have been between 45 and 60 degrees the past couple of days. The forecast says that the temperatures will remain the same for the next couple of days. It has been raining here the last 2 days, and the rain will make a change in the ice. The clocks are hooked up and the watchmen are on duty 24 hours a day until the ice moves out and the clocks stop.
 

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Except for 2002 when the ice went out on May 7th, this is the latest the ice has held since 1964. Very interesting. By the way, a study has been ongoing regarding the date the ice has been going out in an attempt to link this event to global warming. It appears that the GW-enthusiasts are now facing some contradictory data.
 

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This is fun, reminds me about when we used to go perch and smelt fishing in the U.P., always had to wait for the ice to break up. Please keep us informed!

tom h
 

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I barely re-started this thread on time. This morning the word is:



"The Tanana River ice officially went out on May 6th, 2008 at 10:53 pm"

"The winners will share a Jackpot in the amount of $303,895.00. The payoff will be made on June 1st, 2008"
 

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Yes.... I almost forgot about that classic...... I bet on it for a number of years. Of course it helped living in Anchorage at the time.

We will be in AK in about 2 weeks..... hope the weather is good for train watching, riding, and having fun in general.
Art
 

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Posted By Art on 05/07/2008 10:30 AM

Yes.... I almost forgot about that classic...... I bet on it for a number of years. Of course it helped living in Anchorage at the time. We will be in AK in about 2 weeks..... hope the weather is good for train watching, riding, and having fun in general. Art


Once the ice goes out at Nenana, summer comes rather quickly to interior Alaska. The 15-day Accuweather forecast for this area is looking excellent.  I am taking advantage of this by working hard to complete a final elevated 96-foot segment on one of my two outdoor garden railroads. 
 
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