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Moving Tanana River ice trips Ice Classic clock

This screenshot shows the tripod in the Nenana Ice Classic on April 30, 2021. The contest ended...
This screenshot shows the tripod in the Nenana Ice Classic on April 30, 2021. The contest ended at 12:50 p.m. AST when the clock was tripped by ice in the Tanana River moving the tripod. (Photo courtesy Borealis Broadband)(Borealis Broadband)
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 4:56 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The ice on the Tanana River has moved enough to trip the clock in the popular Nenana Ice Classic contest.

Each year, people buy tickets to guess the date and time that the ice will go out on the Tanana River. This year, according to Nenana Ice Classic Manager Cherrie Forness, the contest’s clock was tripped at 12:50 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (1:50 p.m. daylight saving time), but not by the ice moving out. The ice actually moved backward.

Forness said she’s never seen an end to the contest like this before.

The tripod placed on top of the ice each year has not tipped yet. A piece of ice separated a little ways upstream from the tripod, Forness explained, and the section of ice that the tripod rests on ended up moving toward a channel of water behind it.

That’s when the rope and wires become taught and tripped the clock, she said.

Normally, the tripod moves out with the ice, Forness said. The Tanana River still has quite a bit of ice left this year, she said.

Nenana Ice Classic organizers were still entering contest entries Friday afternoon, and did not yet know how many people guessed the correct time this year. Forness said she anticipates it will be five to seven days before organizers know who made the correct guesses.

Overall, Forness said she thinks the classic had a good year.

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