Summer brings on an irresistible desire to get in the water. Under the Savoyard sun, the days are hot and you need to cool down. Well that’s fine, since the Isère river flows past La Plagne. If you can swim and are over 8, you just have to get a wetsuit on.
You may have paddled down the Ardèche already, but you realize that the current in the Isère is not quite the same… well spotted! On this river, you don’t rent your own kayak, you are always accompanied. Whatever method you opt for, you will never be left alone. Of course, it’s not the Zambezi either (no crocodiles in La Plagne!) but you will definitely have more fun with a guide. You just need to select your preferred mode of transport:
- If you choose rafting, you will discover the river’s ‘cool kiss’ effect. An initial ‘kiss’ at the Aime rapids, the very same rapids that international kayakers appreciate so much. In this large inflatable boat, it’s fun to go over waves and rapids. The ‘cool’ moment comes in the gorges at Centron. Steep cliffs, clear water and wild natural surroundings, it’s quite simply splendid.
- Canoeing. There are only two of you in the boat, so it’s smaller and a bit lighter, easier to handle but also a little less stable. Followed closely by the guide, you will learn to ‘read’ the river so you can navigate it better. We strongly recommend that you be on the same wavelength as your teammate.
- Hydrospeed. This is the most sporty option, firstly because you are immersed in the (cold) water, with flippers on your feet and your upper body resting on the float and secondly because you are on your own, even if an instructor is there to supervise. Hydrospeed is a real thrill, as the waves look bigger from down below and the current feels stronger. You will have to work hard to keep control like a fish (or a mermaid) in this legendary river.
In sports mode
If you want to get even better acquainted with the river, La Plagne’s Eaux Vives kayak club is the place to go. It trains and coaches its members but also welcomes holidaymakers for a week-long kayak course where they can learn and progress.
You start on the calm water of a lake, then plunge into the white water. You take the time to understand the rapids and debrief on how you navigated them and, most of all, you have a great time with people who love the river.
Lucie tried hydrospeed and tells you about her descent:
After trying rafting and kayaking several times, I thought it was time to find out what hydrospeed is all about. To be quite honest, I was a bit apprehensive for several reasons:
- Being alone in the river and having to control the float,
- Bumping into rocks,
- Being cold.
After getting into my padded wetsuit, helmet, gloves and shoes, we were briefed by our guide in a calm section of the river. My initial concerns quickly vanished: you don’t feel the cold and the float is easy to control.
We threw ourselves in and off we went! I was riding on the water, skimming over the waves and really enjoying it. The first section of the river is fairly calm so you can start to relax. You learn to move in the river using your flippers and float. There is nothing really difficult along the way, you just have to float and the current takes care of the rest.
Things get more serious at Centron rapids which are very thrilling: you really feel the power of the water. I was surfing on the waves and steering through the water just like a fish, avoiding the rocks and jumping over the breakers: it was just amazing, a real rush of adrenalin!
The real difference from rafting is that you are “in” rather than “on” the river, you feel the current and the waves, you learn to control your trajectory and move easily, seeing the river from a new perspective.
It is a really cool activity: I spent the whole time laughing and I think this section of the river is perfect for an initial experience of hydrospeed.