Nenana Ice Classic : When Spring is Finally Here!

Breaking up is a big deal. Especially if it’s the Nenana river at the end of a long Alaskan winter. The break-up of the river is an annual event attracting hundreds of optimistic gamblers. For a small price – $2.50 – participants buy guesses on what time to-the-minute the breakup of the Nenana will send a wooden tripod tipping over and moving downstream. Incredibly, the prize pool can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars! I’ve heard that the winner-takes-all prize is over $400,000 this year. Pretty incredible!

This event has been going on for decades. During that time the tripod has gone down stream on as much at 50″ of ice, but is often times much less. I visited on 04/20/14 and there were many people optimistic would occur in just a couple more days. No matter when it is, there are many who are looking forward to the opportunity of winning, and to the symbol of a new Spring in Alaska.

Nenana Ice Classic 2013.

http://www.nenanaakiceclassic.com/

The tripod at the Nenena ice classic is tethere to a three ropes. One sounds the alarm, one cuts the 'cleaver' and the other? Well, I'm actually not sure what the third does!
The tripod at the Nenena ice classic is tethere to a three ropes. One sounds the alarm, one cuts the ‘cleaver’ , and the other runs the clock. Once the tripod drifts far enough downstream the rope releases the cleaver which severs the clock line, and establishes the official time of break-up for the season!

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