Activities to get your feet wetTop 5
To practice in fall and winter!
You probably thought that spending time in the water was limited to springtime flowers, summer heat waves, and Indian summers in the fall, right? Well prepare to be amazed! It turns out that the colder seasons are preferred for certain sports where you need to get (at least) your feet wet.
© Gilles Piel / View of the lake from Saint-Jorioz
When aqua walking in Lake Annecy, the colder the water the better
Strolling through the lake up to your neck in water is probably one of those activities most people think is for a few eccentrics among us.
From a health and well-being standpoint, however, the colder the water is, the greater the benefits, especially when combined with an exercise that builds strength and endurance without over-taxing your joints. Take full advantage of the fresh air, and of course the fresh water…
© Au studio espace bien-être / Aqua walking
While we know about water’s therapeutic and relaxing nature, especially for its ability to absorb movement-related shocks, it also allows for intense exercise with almost no risk of injury. By causing enhanced blood flow, water works on the body’s overall balance. There are many benefits to reap when aqua walking in the middle of Lake Annecy, an unlimited source of inspiration for the mind, heart, and body.
To enjoy this type of adventure, you need the right gear, such as a full wetsuit as well as neoprene socks and booties. To increase the intensity of each movement, add a pair of hand paddles. While they might not make you look as graceful as a black swan, they help to maximize your workout for every muscle group, a good thing.
Add our instructor Isabelle to the mix. Based in Saint-Jorioz, in the “Au Studio” wellness center, her reassuring voice and positive energy will guide you toward reaching the infinite calm of this Zen-like experience.
More information : Au Studio
Stand up paddle boarding on Lake Annecy, a sea of tranquility
Once the hustle and bustle of the summer season dies down, fall and winter offer the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the peaceful, placid areas of Lake Annecy on a stand up paddle board. For NCY SUP Paddle in Sevrier, when the weather is clear and the wind dies down, paddling on the lake’s glassy surface is a year-round activity.
During the fall and winter, the lake’s waters display an entirely different range of colors, and offer an incredibly calm, relaxing environment. Take the opportunity to figure among the truly fortunate… just as we do all year round, a feeling that never gets old! Enjoy this satisfying atmosphere like no other.
© Gilles Piel / Stand up Paddle excursion
Peaceful, calm, serene: words that also describe yoga. While staring out at the lake to absorb its incredible energy is a magical experience, spending time ON the lake, rocked back and forth by its purifying waters is truly delightful.
NCY SUP Paddle offers this very experience, which is well worth the stretch if you can hold the pose on your paddle board. All in good time, you may need a little practice to get the hang of it.
At this time of year, combining paddle boarding and yoga takes on another, almost spiritual dimension as the mauve and ochre hues of the skyline reflect a kaleidoscope of colors on the lake’s surface. What a great setting to meditate. The water’s fluid nature requires focus with each pose, allowing the mind to escape to the rhythm of the ebb and flow as take in the majesty of the surrounding summits.
For the more adventurous, January’s GlaGla Race offers the chance to dive head first into the lake’s icy waters.
Enjoy a truly unique international stand up paddle boarding event, 100% created in Annecy.
Warning, the water’s temperature can drop to as low as 4°C!
More information : NCY SUP Paddle
Free diving. Immerse yourself in the deep blue waters of Lake Annecy
With your vitality restored and ready to explore, how about embarking on a true adventure by learning to free dive?
Free diving offers everyone (yes everyone, we even tried it) the opportunity to dig deep within, to draw upon an unexpected abilities. When properly equipped (of course), free diving in Lake Annecy’s pure, deep blue waters makes the experience even more intense.
Once again, no need to cross an ocean to fully enjoy such an amazing sport, Lake Annecy offers everything the budding free diver needs to experiment, whatever the water (or air) temperature.
© Azur Diving / Apnea
Just ask Reda Guehria, who founded Apnea & Swim (she is a close friend and works with Stéphane Taureau, runner-up on the Free Diving World Cup circuit), to teach you how to free dive or to help improve your skills. Reda will put you on the right path towards reaping the infinite rewards this physically demanding activity offers both the body and mind.
While static apnea creates a relaxing yet mentally-awakening experience, enjoy dynamic apnea to discover the incredible sensation of gliding underwater while holding your breath. Either adventure will broaden your horizons and expand the realm of what you thought possible. To delve even deeper, and to explore the depths of your mind (and the lake), free diving has no equal. Make sure that you have the right instruction and equipment.
For those already familiar with the free-diving arts, you can apparently dive as deep as 30 to 40 meters after several sessions and training on a regular basis (one session per week for two months). This is deep enough to explore the shipwrecked France, 42 meters beneath the surface of the lake. So, are you tempted?
More information : Apnea & Swim
Ice Canyoning, frozen water slides
Most of those who love boardsports (or any type of sport where one glides) usually limit their winter adventures to snow-related activities. Seasons when the highly-anticipated moisture-filled cold fronts arrive later than usual can prove more than frustrating. Never fear, our region never ceases to amaze with more alternatives than you could have possibly imagined.
© O'Speed canyoning / Ice canyoning
Ice canyoning, the winter version of canyoning, figures among the most thrilling. Leading down to Lake Annecy, Angon Canyon offers the chance to climb, meander, and slide down a ravine all year long. As you can imagine, the winter experience is the polar opposite of its summer counterpart. Slipping into the icy water feels different to say the least.
Imagine a water temperature of 2°C and an air temperature of -5°C, the almost glacier blue colors, and you, wearing well-insulated hermetically-sealed dry suit that lets virtually no water in. You may even feel warmer than in summer. From rappelling to scrambling, from sliding to zip lining your way down the ravine, you will spend less time in the water compared to summer and more time using the technical personal protective equipment that keeps you safe. Wearing a balaclava and gloves are advised in frigid temperatures.
For an even more magical experience among the crystalline colors, stalactites, and truly glacial atmosphere, O’speed also leads excursions down Barberine Canyon, near Chamonix, for an extreme, yet perfectly safe adventure.
More information : O’speed
Catch a wave in Annecy by surfing on the Thiou River
This new surf spot along the shores of the Thiou River will be the first ever in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region for this fast-growing activity. The location offers the chance to create a hub for all those who enjoy water sports, from fishing to kayaking, as well as a forum for those activists and public entities involved in environmental protection to exchange ideas.
© Annecy Wave / Wave on the Thiou
From the very beginning, Annecy Wave gathered input from many user groups to ensure the preservation of the site’s natural setting, resources, and uses. A 100% eco-responsible and eco-friendly location by design, enjoy freshwater surfing on the Thiou River.
Stay tuned, we will provide more details soon, whether we’ve been able to hang ten… or not!
More information : Annecy Wave
- © Vincent Roux / Free diving in lake Annecy
Journalist : Gaëlle Tagliabue
Translation : Darin Reisman