Here at Ice Classic Headquarters we just got off the phone with Mr. Kevin Murphy who has been measuring the thickness of the river ice in front of Bethel for decades. On or near the last day of every winter month he goes to approximately the same spot (in front of the port), drills a small hole in the ice and takes a measurement.
On January 31st the ice measured 30″. On February 29th… 35″. To my surprise, Murphy noted that this was about “average”. What? This is the warmest winter anyone can remember? How could it be?
So I did a little research and sure enough, according to the Ice Thickness Database compiled by the Alaska Pacific River Forecast Center, average February ice thickness on the Kuskokwim at Bethel is 36″.
What does this mean for the Ice Classic? Well, in a year where so many seemed certain that break-up would come early, perhaps it’s time to think again! The guessing game is on!
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another year of the Kuskokwim Ice Classic!
We are just beginning to ramp up for the 2016 season but ticket sales are underway. In Bethel, purchase tickets from Delta Illusions Dance Company, BRHS Cheerleading, YK Delta Lifesavers Fund, BRHS/Gladys Jung Archery, Bethel Freestyle Wrestling Club and Teens Acting Against Violence (TAAV). In Aniak, tickets are available from the girls high school basketball team and in Napaskiak tickets will be sold by the 2016 senior class.
We’ll be telling you more about each of the beneficiary groups in the coming weeks and months. For now, keep your eye out for tickets on sale and start thinking about how you’ll guess this year!!!