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White water rafting in Morzine

White water rafting in Morzine: What you need to know

July 4th, 2023 Holiday Tips, Morzine

Whilst a white water rafting trip in Morzine might not involve grade V rapids, it is by no means a scenic float down the Dranse. Be prepared to get wet and feel the rush of the water as you discover the mountains from an alternative vantage point. To get the low down on what to expect, we spoke to Natalie Elvy who runs Frogs Rafting with her partner Jeremy, a river guide who has been navigating mountain waterways for over 20 years.

Rafting in Morzine: Q&A with Frogs rafting

Who can raft on the Dranse?

The river Dranse has a lot to offer, and depending on the route you take will provide a fun challenge for everyone from first timers through to more advanced rafters. We welcome everyone from couples, families, groups of friends and stag/hen dos. All of our trips start quite high up the river, so you get a good amount of time – between 1h15 and 2h30 – actually on the river (that excludes time taken to do the briefing and transport you to and from the river access points).

What actually happens in the raft?

You’ll be in the raft with a maximum of 7 other rafters, plus your river guide. Your guide sits in the back of the raft, navigating your group’s direction while you and the other rafters act as the driving force by paddling through the rapids. Your guide will call out instructions for when and how to paddle, as well as give you hints and advice on what’s coming up next.

What age and swimming level is needed to go rafting?

We offer trips for any age over 8 years. Contrary to belief you do not need to be a strong swimmer, as long as you (or your child) can swim the width of the river (25m) this is fine. The path down to the starting point is a bit gravelly, so let us know beforehand if you have any joint problems or need assistance.

Will I capsize?

I am always surprised by how many people are shocked that they capsize and actually get wet during a rafting trip! There is no way that we can guarantee that you wont end up in the water. The thing is not to panic if you do fall in, it’s not a problem – in fact, it’s often one of the most fun and memorable parts of the tour! Listen to your guide, and you’ll be back in the raft in no time at all.

Will I get cold?

As the Dranse is dam controlled, meaning the water is held for a period, it is actually a little warmer than most rivers coming off the mountain. That said, we equip you with a thick wetsuit and if you are hydro speeding (which means you’ll spend longer in the water), you’ll get an even warmer wetsuit and an extra layer if you need one.

 

What trip should I choose?

We run four trips on the river Dranse: ‘the first timers’, ‘the classic’, ‘the in-between trip’ and ‘the pro’. All trips start with a briefing about safety procedures and paddling techniques. The tours are categorised by which parts of the river and rapids they include, this means people can easily find a good match for them.

‘The first timers’ is great for kids and those who are a little nervous in water, and ‘the classic’, which is the same section but with one extra (more challenging) rapid at the start, is great for beginners feeling more adventurous. If you have rafted before or are feeling super confident you can jump straight to ‘the in-between’ trip. This trip enables rafters to tackle some Grade IV obstacles, but excludes the biggest rapid on ‘the pro’ trip.

Whichever trip you choose, you’ll have a chance to take in the unusual rock formations along the river, paddle through incredible gorges, and jump off rocks up to 6ms high for another awesome adrenalin boost.

What should I bring and wear?

A swimsuit and towel for after the trip. We provide water shoes, wet suits, life jackets and helmets. Don’t take valuables – leave rings, necklaces, earrings and watches in your accommodation.

 

I’ve heard of Hydrospeeding, what is that exactly?

Hydrospeeding is a more autonomous way to go down the river and involves a ‘white-water sledge’ – a chunky bit of foam, shaped so that you can fit your body snugly into it. You will learn how to steer, stop and read the river and will follow a guide down the river learning about duck-diving and surfing, rolling and spinning! It’s great fun and a thrilling way to get up close to mother nature. The trip takes about 2h – 2.5h and we kit you out with reinforced wetsuits (keeping you cosy and your knees nicely padded), life jackets, fins and a helmet.

 

Although you are in the water for a considerable amount of time you should not get cold, as you are constantly moving your legs and body, plus the adrenaline keeps you warm!

What age and experience do you need to hydrospeed?

The minimum age for this activity is 12 years old. All participants should be able to swim 25m unaided and be confident in the water.

 

Any other tips?

Be present: it sounds obvious, but it is really important to listen to your guide both during the technical briefing and when on the river. If your guide says paddle, he means it, so paddle! Working together as a team will make the experience more fun and satisfying.

Don’t worry if you have a few nerves. This is perfectly normal and we love seeing a rafter who was a bit anxious before the trip return with a huge smile, already planning when they can get back on the water. You can do this! And your guide will be there every moment of the way.

Have a pee beforehand. Whilst peeing in your wetsuit might seem like a good idea to warm you up, you’ll only feel the warmth for a moment and then you’ll just be sitting in a wetsuit full of your own wee!

Find out more and book your rafting or hydrospeeding trip in Morzine at Frogs Rafting. Morzine in the French Alps offers a huge range of summer activities, to enjoy rafting, mountain biking, Via Ferrata and the area’s stunning natural beauty spots base yourself in the heart of all the action in one of our beautiful self catered chalets.

Al
About the author: Al
After an interesting but ultimately unrewarding 10 years working in banking in London and Geneva, I made the move into full time mountain life and have never looked back. When I am not looking after our 3 energetic and hilarious children, I oversee the commercial and business change side of AliKats. I also helped set up a local environmental charity called Montagne Verte, along with Kat. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn

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