The most challenging rafting trip on the Sjoa river goes through the Åmot rapids in the lower part of the river. This trip is well suited for those who have tried rafting before. The rafting trip is steep, technical, and continuous, unlike the other parts of the Sjoa river. It is a real rush and a trip that relatively few have been on. Heidal Rafting in Sjoa exclusively offers the trip, during low water levels.
The rafting trip begins at Storødegårds bridge. At the start, the river is calm and we take our time to practice commands and different paddling techniques. If you have been rafting in Sjoa before you will probably learn new commands on this trip. After about five minutes, the river enters a gorge that lasts until the end of the trip. The first rapid is called “washing machine”. This is one of the classic rapids on the Sjoa river and sets the standard for what has to come. We continue downstream and enter the slalom course with fun wave trains and smaller rapids. Rafting in Sjoa through the Åmot rapids truly lives up to its reputation when we arrive at “s-bend”. This is a technically demanding rapid that begins with a 90-degree left turn, just before a vertical drop of about 1.5 meters, followed by a 90-degree right turn. It is narrow, and there is little room for mistakes. The next rapid is called “the dragon tail”. Here, the river starts relatively wide before narrowing and becoming much steeper. It really picks up speed towards the end! Further downstream paddle through the “bridge drop”, a small vertical drop that ends in a flat pool. The nature and gorge around it are beautiful. After about 200 meters further down the Sjoa, next rapid awaits. The longest rapid of the rafting trip is actually two rapids that are connected, called “double drop” and “the corridor”. It starts with the river dropping sharply twice before narrowing. At the bottom of “the corridor” is a new flat pool before Sjoa’s very last rapid, “aeroplane turn”. Here, we start all the way to the right of the river before being “thrown” towards the middle as the river drops sharply. A bit like a fighter jet, hence the name “aeroplane turn”. Now Sjoa ends and flows into Gudbrandsdalslågen on its way down to Mjøsa.
We raft the same section twice. Each trip is approximately 4 kilometres, and on the first round, we take our time to look at and explain some of the rapids. Rafting in Sjoa through the Åmodt- falls is a trip with higher risk than the other rafting trips in Sjoa, and we want to make sure everyone understands what they have signed up for and what to do if they swim. Back at base we serve warm lunch with salad and bread.