FAIRBANKS — The jackpot for the 97th annual Nenana Ice Classic probably won’t be as big as last year’s record $350,000 payout, but it still should be a healthy chunk of change.
Ice Classic manager Cherrie Forness, who spent last week driving around the state to pick up the red ticket cans and any unsold tickets, said preliminary ticket sales look good.
“I don’t think they’re quite as good as last year, but they’re still good,” Forness said.
The jackpot for Alaska’s equivalent of the lottery, in which people pay $2.50 per ticket to guess the day and time the Tanana River ice will go out in Nenana, will be announced on April 25 after a meeting of the board of directors, Forness said. Approximately half the ticket sales go into the jackpot and the other half goes to pay for the contest and donations to local nonprofit organizations.
Based on the cold weather so far this month and how thick the ice still is, it’s looking like it’s going to be a late breakup, Forness said. Officials measured the ice on Monday and it was still 50.3 inches thick, she said. They will continue measuring the ice twice per week until it’s unsafe to do so.
“Everything is as solid as it can be,” she said of ice conditions.