Rachel and Ryan Neufeld plunged into Alouette Lake to welcome 2021. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Rachel and Ryan Neufeld plunged into Alouette Lake to welcome 2021. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Alouette Lake polar bear plunge cancelled second year in a row

Organizers point to road closures due to snow and rising COVID cases as reasons

The annual polar plunge at the Alouette Lake, to welcome the new year, once again stands cancelled for 2022, due to the extreme weather conditions and the rising COVID cases.

The polar bear plunge, which draws hundreds of people to the Alouette Lake boat launch, won’t take place second time in a row on Jan. 1, 2022, said the Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club’s president Alex Milner.

“I confirmed with other members, and there is no plan for hosting it this time around,” said Milner.

One major reason for the cancellation this time around is the Golden Ears Park road closure, due to snow. The park’s social media page was updated on Dec. 24 with the information of the closure and said that an update will follow as soon as the road re-opened. However, with more snow in the forecast, lifting the closure any time soon seemed unlikely, said another tweet from the park.

However, according to Milner, even before the park road closures, it looked unlikely that the event would take place, due to the rising COVID cases.

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Earlier in December, the province reintroduced several restrictions on public gathering and closed down bars, gyms, fitness centres, due to the rising cases caused by the Omicron variant. On Christmas day, the province set a new record of 2,552 new cases in a single day. Cases have continued to remain high due to the surge in the variant.

Last year, the plunge was cancelled due to the rising COVID cases and stricter provincial restrictions. However, some locals did end up coming together on Jan. 1, 2021 at the Alouette Lake for the plunge. This year however, with the existing snow accumulation, temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, and Environment Canada’s snow forecast in place for Jan. 1, 2022, individual dips also look unlikely, especially if the park road closures continue to remain in place.

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