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Sesia: a wave of "wild" emotions

Ravines, jumps on rounded rocks, slipping into quiet bends. The Sesia river is a myth for rafting, canoeing and hydro speed fans. Even children and beginners can ride the water zigzags. The important thing is to rely on certified rafting centers ...

Pamela Pucci

Sesia: a wave of "wild" emotions

Sparkling turquoise waters. Emotions, paddle strokes and landscapes that spin fast on the wave of the river, a bend after another.

Get off the Sesia river by canoeing or touristic rafting is a ride that fills with energy, sprays and discoveries. Like tightrope walkers, riding a dream, which moves accompanying the journey. Everything flows and everything changes, in a carousel of hidden escapades and unusual perspectives, on a corner of Vercelli’ lands dotted with rocks, stone villages and bell towers.

The Sesia river, feisty son of Monte Rosa, sinuous and robust, generates rapids with evocative names for fans: Shearing, Salom, Drunk, Igloo ... Going forward it calms down and it makes you take a breath, accepting also those who are beginners.

With its tributaries the river forms one of the most fascinating and loved canoeing areas of the Alps. To get an idea, the descent of the Dinelli gorges starts from the Roman bridge of Scopetta and arrives in Balmuccia, between gigantic rocks and a so tight river bed that in some places the raft has just the same size of the space between the sheer walls of the banks.
Everything is far away from towns and streets, in a wilderness out of time, accompanied only by the water’s music. Precise maneuvers are needed to follow the tortuous way of the current and a good group affinity to paddle between waterfalls, zigzags and water slides.

The adventure is always under control because the Sesia gives a swing of slopes and quiet pools. From spring to fall, its paths become a rodeo of hundreds of canoes, kayaks and rafts. They are available to everyone, even those who have no special training: you just need to know how to swim and rely on FIRAFT - Italian Rafting Federation - certificated accompanying guides.



It is no coincidence that here the first Italian chapter of rafting history was written , thanks to Emanuele Bernasconi who in 1978, in the town of Vocca, founded the first center getting the rafts from overseas.

Not only. The official debut of our Country in this discipline goes back to the first National Championship in 1988, and today the Sesia Valley boasts a fierce female rafting team, the Sesia Rafting Team from Vocca. Strong and determined girls, ready to get a piece of sky flying over the water.

In 2013 they won the FIRAFT women Italian Championship and got a second place at the World Cup in New Zealand. In 2014 they dominated again the Italian Championship and got a silver and a bronze medal at the European Championships in Slovakia. In 2015 they were in the Italian Team that participated in the European Championship, ranking first in the slalom, second in H2H (head to head) and third in the sprint. This year they aim for the World Championship, which kicks off on October 30 in the United Arab Emirates, on an artificial competition course recreated in the desert.

Jasmine Zurlini Frugis, 23 years old, is one of them: bearer of the National Women Rafting team and fifth level river guide, the highest, passport to the waterways around the world.

"The Sesia is extraordinary. I met this river when I was 14 - she says - when I went there for a meeting with my handball team". A revelation that changed her entire life, immersing herself in the river’s horizons and energy.

With red hair and heart, in love with water and nature, she never gives up. Not only fighting with the Italian shirt and guiding tourists to discover the Sesia but she travels the world in search of landscapes, chills and medals. She competed in New Zealand, she has faced rapids in Indonesia, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovenia, Czech Republic. The world is a mosaic of raging waters.

Jasmine lives in Vocca and in the good season, on Saturdays and Sundays, she leaves her trainings to bring down in "her" river tourists who rely on the skills and sympathy of the Sesia Rafting guides’ team.

The center, directed by Monica Bernasconi (daughter of the pioneer Emanuele, same passion in the DNA) offers rafting, kayaking, canyoning and hydro speed descents, open to everybody, ages 12 and up.

There are five days packages, day trips and water weekends, the "mythical" Sesia path (from Balmuccia to Varallo, a ride of 10 kilometers between rapids’ waves, stretches of calm waters and natural pools), dinners at chalets and camping under the stars and bonfires.
And yet, hydro speed adventures (a sort of floating bob to maneuver with the weight of the body and the help of fins) or canoeing, looking for the surprises of Sorba stream, one of the Sesia tributaries, with water slides, mysterious gorges, rope descents and acrobatic dives, like a water park open to beginners too.

In short, there's the thrill but always with safely. And there are also thrilling and more "extreme" challenges, for those who can overcome the pitfalls of rollers and swirling rapids.

"It 's always good - recommended Jasmine - to rely on a rafting school enabled by the Federation to go down the river without bad surprises. In this way, on the Sesia, also children and beginners can experience a descent. We, the instructors, prepare people with preliminary floor and calm water exercises, checking skills and competences. Who gets in water it is equipped with wetsuit, helmet and life jacket. Then, you just need to follow the guide's instructions and have fun! ".

Far from modernity, alone or in team, to dive in the ancestral eddies of the river and also into yourselves. Between Jasmine and Sesia it was love at first sight. Like her, all the others that do not associate the word 'surf' just with the Web.


Tel: 348.0053978