Organisers of one of the district’s most popular family trail rides have made the tough decision to cancel the event for 2022.

Wānaka Trail Ride 2022 was set to run Saturday 2nd April, but the uncertainty around holding events and the potential impact of Omicron in the community have forced organisers to cancel for this year.

Chairperson Alix Wilson said the committee wanted to make the call sooner rather than later.

“For us, the decision was not just about taking a guess on whether we would be under a red traffic light status but also the need to consider the many other elements that come together to run this event safely and successfully,” says Wilson.

“We have to consider our incredibly generous landowners who grant us access to their properties and the many suppliers who go out of their way to provide us with vital infrastructure and support services. These are things like our hire equipment, first aid support, helicopters, photographers, catering, and the list goes on.

While it’s not great news for this year’s event, organisers are confident they will be back again in 2023.

“We had to cancel 2020’s event because of lockdown, and we made it back for 2021. So there’s no reason we can’t be back running another incredible trail ride in 2023.”

“At the end of the day, Wānaka Trail Ride is an entirely volunteer-run event to raise funds for Wānaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House Wānaka.

“We do not have the resources or the financial flexibility to reschedule nor raise the necessary if we were to reduce numbers.

“If one of our key people, like our Tracks Manager, who coordinates all of our volunteer marshals and safety crew, was forced to self-isolate, then we would find ourselves in a tough situation. This isn’t something we can afford to risk given the excellent reputation the event has built up over the last six years.

“We are all gutted by this decision, and we send our thoughts out to the many riders who travel from around the South Island to the event each year. We were really looking forward to seeing everyone out there this year. 

“But we’ll be back.”

Last year’s Wānaka Trail Ride saw close to 600 riders descend upon a network of backcountry trails outside Tarras. With the support of 95 volunteers, the event raised $18,000 for Wānaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House Wānaka. The total amount raised by Wānaka Trail Ride for these two schools over the years is $158,000.

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