Summer is upon us and temperatures are rising, and often hot, steamy days mean early evening storms. Every once in a while one of those storms is followed by a day of grey skies and passing showers. Such is the climate in the Alps. You shouldn’t let that worry you, however; a summer holiday in the Alps is great no matter what the weather. Take for example Wednesday of last week. It was a bit of a wet one here in Samoëns last Wednesday, but a little rainy weather certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the Alps Accommodation team. In fact, we discovered the perfect thing to do on a less than sunny day: go rafting!
Ecolorado Rafting played host to our whitewater adventure last week. It was about 4pm, as we mustered outside the Ecolorado rafting base on the road to Sixt. There was static in the air – caused not only by the humidity of the day but by the nervous energy emanating from each member of the Alps Accommodation team. Our anxiety soon gave way to smiles and excited laughs, however; as we received a warm welcome from Ecolorado owner, Alain Piedoy.
Alain made his first descent down the river Giffre in 1989. After a few years working as a river guide in Samoëns, Alain decided this was the place he wanted to set up business. In 1993 Ecolorado Rafting was born. Twenty years on, Alain still loves his life on the river, and has one of the largest and most popular rafting bases in the area.
The Alps Accommodation team certainly had a blast that day. Kitted out in all the essential gear we set off towards Sixt in the Ecolorado bus. (Alain drives his clients to the start point of their river adventure and then picks them up again at the end, some one and a half hours later.) Excitement gripped the team as the bus pulled in beside the river and we carried our boats to the water. The storms of the night before meant the river was flowing at a great rate of knots and wow - did it look big! Eager to get going, we first listened to the safety instructions which were expertly delivered in English by French river guides, Yvan and David. Confident and happy we were safe in the hands of our guides, we then saddled up and paddled out.
For one and half hours we laughed (and sometimes screamed) our way downstream. We rode the waves, and bounced off rocks, losing a passenger overboard at one stage - though I might add, our cheeky guide David may have played a part in that. Thanks to his good instruction, however; our colleague was retrieved and we set off once again. David and Yvan really made an effort to make the trip fun. Whistling as they went, they guided us confidently down the river. They initiated splashing wars on calmer waters, stopped in some great swimming spots, and if ever a question was asked they were happy to answer. The trip with Ecolorado was a great success as far as the Alps Accommodation team was concerned.
And the really great news is that Alps Accommodation guests can enjoy the same experience with a special discount just for them. Adult guests get a 10% discount off rafting trips as well as reduced prices on other Ecolorado organised activities. Don’t worry mums and dads - the kids get discounts too! In fact, just this week our Chalet Esse guests, the Corbett family, were some of the first Alps Accommodation guests to take advantage of the discount. While Mum stayed at home for some relaxing “me-time”, Dad, Derek, took his sons, Ewan and Jonah, for an Ecolorado adventure. They were all smiles when I asked them how it was. Ewan and Jonah enjoyed the rafting and got a real kick out of the stops for rock jumps and swimming. Dad had a good time too. “Oh yeah, it was really fun,” said Derek, “It rained a little bit, but hey… that really didn’t matter at all!”
It seems it’s true what Alain and his team at Ecolorado say about rafting:
« Pratiquer le raft sous le soleil, c’est super! Mais le pratiquer sous la pluie, c’est mieux !!! »
The Alps Accommodation team couldn’t agree more, and just in case you need a little help translating… Rafting on a sunny day is super, but rafting when it rains… that’s the best!!!
**If you’d like some more information about rafting trips, be sure to ask your Alps Accommodation rep on arrival. They’d be happy to point you in the right direction and can even make reservations for you.
Thank you to Christian Besse for his fantastic photos. Christian is a professional photographer available for your own group's photos. Contact Ecolorado Rafting for more details.