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Summer Fun in Samoëns – White Water Activities

White Water Fun to Cool Down in Samoëns

Sunny Summers in Samoëns

Summer in Samoëns tends to be a sunny and uplifting affair. Of course, it’s the mountains so we can have an odd day of rain or a spectacular storm sweep through but the underlying climate is blue skies and sunshine (it’s 31°C as I write this.)

What better way to enjoy the sun than to take a splash into one of the various white water activities on offer? The Giffre meanders its way down the valley through Samoëns and offers incredible and exhilarating opportunities for all those who want to float along it.

Big smiles for the whole family

In this, another of our summer blog posts, we’ll give you information on white water fun.

How the Rafting Works

A lot happens between booking a your time on the river and towelling down at the end of your watery adventure. With multiple white water providers in the valley, there are minor differences in meeting points, times and how things run although overall the format is largely the same.

After meeting at your allocated time (for those on a Family Adventure holiday, we can drop you off and pick you up) you’ll be kitted up with everything you need to take to the water: a wetsuit; booties; a helmet; and of course a life jacket.

The lovely McGrady family, kitted up and ready to go!

Once you have been transported to the starting point in a bus or minibus, you’ll then be introduced to a paddle before being given a complete briefing on what to do whilst you are in the raft… and what to do if you end up outside of it (lay on your back with your feet downstream and knees bent.) You will typically get a chance to test the water (it can be pretty chilly!) before you set off in your chosen vessel.

What a beautiful setting!

Choose Your Vessel!

There is more than one way to get down the Giffre and I’m not just talking about in a boat or out of one… The traditional raft is the largest option and due to the width of the gorge, these are limited to 6 paddlers plus the guide.

Next up is the two man “canoraft” a somewhat more challenging craft that requires more co-ordination and teamwork due to the absence of the guide. With the most competent (or confident!) paddler in the rear, you’ll be coached down the river but required to steer and manoeuvre yourselves as a team. This is more challenging than the larger rafts and there’s a good chance that you’ll end up in the water at some point!

The photos below show me and a friend dropping into the gorge in a canoraft…

Dropping into the gorgeAre we in a raft or submarine?Finally back up for air

Smaller still is the one man “air boat” (sometimes amusingly referred to as the “hairboat”). With a bit of guidance and tuition, you’ll be the master of your own vessel yet still supported and encouraged by the guides accompanying you on your journey. Essentially an inflatable version of a kayak, it’s entirely your own skill and balance that will determine whether you go for a swim or not!

It's a tight fit in the "Gorges de Tines"

If you have an appetite for getting even closer to the water, there is one other option referred to as “hydrospeed“. Rather than being given a paddle and something to sit in, you will be equipped with a large float that you hold in position under your upper body and some small fins on your feet to help you manoeuvre in the water. You’ll spend your journey down the river being taught how to ride the river like a pro and even surf on stoppers (a particular type of wave!)

Your Journey Down The Giffre

Your entry point may vary slightly according to the provider used and the water levels but you’ll be introduced to the water upstream of Samoëns somewhere around Sixt. Freshly briefed on how to steer your craft, you’ll head down the river and over a couple of lively rapids before arriving at your first challenge – the entry to the Gorges de Tines.

Should the guide look that shocked?

It’s quite snug for the rafts in the gorge (see below) and a great chance to admire the way in which nature has sculpted these beautiful surroundings.

Nearing the exit of the gorge, there is opportunity for a play outside of the boats. Depending upon water levels you can test your nerve by launching yourself from rocks, a ledge or even a bridge at 8-10m above the water.

Fun in the white water

The adventure continues downstream with some more rapids and an impressive stopper where you can try your surfing skills (yes – with co-ordinated paddling and a bit of luck, you can even surf in a 7 man raft!)

The Practical Stuff

Rafting is a perfect for families, groups or solo participants alike. Younger participants are accepted from the age of 6-8 (depending upon the company) providing they can swim and are comfortable in the water. Little ones may be walked around a couple of the bigger rapids and in particular, the drop into the gorge.

During the busier summer months, it’s definitely wise to book in advance (something that we can do for you) and you can expect to pay around €30-€35 per person (again this varies with suppliers).

For more information and contact details of our preferred suppliers, take a look at our white water information page by clicking here

Photo Gallery

All of these photos and more can be found on our Flickr photo gallery (visit our Flickr page. Click on any of the photos below to view our white water rafting gallery.

Until next time…

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