Dillon Ice Melt celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Ice Melt celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday

Cris Bezinque, with Summit County Water Rescue, drives the hovercraft out onto Lake Dillon with the Dillon Ice Melt timeclock during the event in 2009. This year's contest kicks off today at noon from the Dillon Marina.
Summit Daily file photo |

30th annual Dillon Ice Melt

What: The launch of a weighted clock for the 30th anniversary of the Dillon Ice Melt contest, a community competition to guess when the device will slip through the ice

Where: Dillon Marina, 150 Marina Dr. in Dillon

When: March 21 at noon

Cost: $5 for one ticket, $20 for five, $100 for 30

The Dillon Ice Melt is an annual fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Summit County. Tickets can be purchased at the event or from a Rotarian before April 19. Multiple entries are allowed. To submit a guess online or find out more, see http://www.dillonicemelt.com.

Ladies and gentlemen, consult Mother Nature and place your bets. It’s time for the annual Dillon Ice Melt.

Today at noon, the Rotary Club of Summit County pairs with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office for the 30th anniversary of the Dillon Ice Melt contest.

The long-running tradition kicks off at the Dillon Marina, where sheriff’s deputies will board a hovercraft to launch a clock connected to a custom-built drum.

The contraption will sit on the rapidly thawing ice of Lake Dillon until one day, at one point, it slips through, marking the unofficial start of spring in Summit.

It also marks a $4,000 payday for one lucky local. As a trademark fundraiser for the Rotary Club, county residents can buy tickets until April 19 to guess exactly when the clock device takes its frigid bath.

Tickets begin at $5 for one guess, with discounts for purchasing multiple tickets. Tickets can be bought online or at the launch event.


Here’s how the Ice Melt process works: After buying a ticket, participants guess the exact date and time the device will drop into the lake.

The guess has to be precise, right down the second — though the closest guess will win if no one pinpoints the exact moment the ice thaws.

And guesstimating is the name of the game, particularly after a bizarre winter season that fluctuated from nonstop snow during the holidays to record-setting high temperatures in February and again in early March.

Over the past three decades, contestants have looked at everything from weather patterns to past winners to build a strategy, while others simply wait until the lake ice looks ready to crack.

“This is very linked to the community and the beginning of summer,” says Diane Monoghan, the Rotary’s Ice Melt chairwoman.

“The lake is something most people here drive by every day, so we don’t always think about it, but it’s always there. It’s just a fun way for people to be involved with something unique to Summit County.”

Along with the $4,000 grand prize, the second-closest guess wins $2,000 and the third closest takes home $1,000. Prize money for all winners is collected from ticket sales proceeds.


The remaining proceeds help fund a wide range of Rotary programs, including the recurring community dinners, the signature Reading Buddies program, student scholarships, exchange student programs and more than a dozen others.

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