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Our River Rhône Adventure

Michelle Fox

What is Hydrospeeding? Without a doubt it’s the most adrenaline-pumping whitewater sport! You’re floating down river navigating your way through a mix of grade 2-4 rapids with the aid of a foam float and flippers. It involves clasping your hands together inside the 45 degree pointed float and flinging yourself through the water trying to keep an eye on your instructor who is leading the way in a kayak.  You use your arms and move the float to change direction as well as adjusting your legs to mirror a rudder technique as you speed down the mighty river Rhône.

The meeting point is at the Valrafting centre, which is about an hours drive from Verbier. Here we were greeted by Jean-Marc, our enthusiastic French instructor, who has over 15 years of experience so we knew we were in safe hands!  We were kitted out with some proper gear: thick wetsuits, wet boots, helmets and floats and he gave us a safety briefing before we set out to the start point (9km up stream). Jean-Marc was more excited than usual today as he let us know, with huge excitement, that the damn had been opened upstream, so it was going to be a fun and rapid filled ride on the river … yikes!

9km up steam from Sierre was our starting point, Jean Marc reassured us that we should follow him in his kayak – he would lead the way! We waded into the river up to our waists and were told to all jump into the middle of the river on the count of 3. Once in the water we were swiftly moved downstream and thrown straight into the glacially cold (but strangely refreshing) rapids. It took a very short amount of time to learn the technique however with the expert guidance of Jean- Marc in front of us and lots of carefully planned stops we all managed to understand and follow his directions well. After about an hour on the river we washed up back at Sierre on a beautiful calm stretch of the river before we enjoyed a delicious barbecue lunch from the team at Valrafting before we embarked on our afternoon whitewater rafting adventure! (More on that another time)

Trip Highlights from Michelle: nearly losing Jaz on the first bend – it was too shallow for her to jump in and we had all gone ahead and lost sight of her and Tom getting beached on a particularly large rock in the middle of the river and not being able to move!!!

Would you go again? Absolutely 100% , I can’t believe none of us has been before!! It is a super exciting, new activity for all of us in the Summer! We all very much enjoyed it, especially the movement of riding the waves of the rapid and being thrown around in the water. Jean-Marc made us all feel very comfortable and in safe hands, even practising rolling in case we were turned upside down. The best part was, we had the river completely to ourselves, with lofty peaks towering above us the whole way down!

Price: CHF150 each
Distance from Verbier: 1 hour drive
Minimum age: 13
Duration: 2h30m (1hr on the water)

All images are courtesy of Valrafting

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