Katrina Stonoff

Watching Ice Melt

One of my favorite things about Alaska (and the competition is tight!) is the Nenana Ice Classic.

It might sound kinda silly in words. It’s a bet we all place (yes, literally) with Mother Nature about when the ice in the Tanana River will break up.

Whoever comes closest wins the pot. The rest goes to charity.

It’s not about winning money though, at least not for me. It’s about bragging rights.

Tanana River in Nenana

It’s also about hope. Faith that the unending winter will, in fact, actually end. Eventually.

Last year was (of course) our first Spring in Alaska, and I spent more hours than I’d want to admit watching the Nenana Ice Classic Fanpage on Facebook. The Fanpage was run by a delightful woman named Rebecca who live-streamed a daily play-by-play at the river’s edge. It was crazy FUN!!

Sadly Rebecca moved Outside, and boy, did I miss her ebullient description of the ice breaking up! But the Nenana Ice Classic—an interior Alaska tradition since 1917—was still a highlight of my Spring.

Mars and I bought our tickets in March and tried to guess when the magic moment would happen that the iron tripod in the Tanana River would tip over and stop the clock.

This year it happened April 30 at 12:50 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (like all things one-hundred-years-plus, the Ice Classic doesn’t do daylight standard time).

Our guess? April 30 at 3:11 p.m.

Guys, we missed it by TWO HOURS AND 21 MINUTES!!!

Not bad for a couple of greenhorns from the Lower 48.

Categories: Alaska