Siberia is a vast land covered with taiga, impregnable mountains and tundra. Many foreigners see it as some mysterious place of “Russian power” where people tend to value life in its harsh pristine nature, passing this attitude from generation to generation. Plus, it’s rarely visited even by most active travelers - not many foreign tourists who’ve visited Russia more than once were lucky to see Siberia with their own eyes.
One of the most interesting events of the “New Generation”, the “White Water of Siberia” Rafting Forum offers such an opportunity. It gathers professionals and amateurs of rafting, raft guides, tourist instructors, journalists, and public figures.
Here, the participants get a chance to try themselves in Altai river rafting and see the unique landscapes of this Russian region firsthand. The guests also learn about the lifestyle and traditions of indigenous Siberian people, the history of Siberia’s exploration and its contemporary life. They visit historical museums and parks and meet Siberian sportsmen and cultural figures.
In 2019, the Russian Rafting Federation hosted this forum for the fourth time and welcomed 23 delegates of the “New Generation” program from the CIS, France, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Serbia, Costa Rica and Chile.
Starting their journey in the city of Barnaul, the participants travelled to the capital of the Altai Republic, Gorno-Altaysk, and then went deeper into the Altai Mountains. They crossed the Teletskoye lake by boat and reached its southern shore, enjoying the surrounding scenery of the lake’s crystal clear waters and waterfalls nearby.
The delegates of the “New Generation” spent the next five days climbing, river rafting, and exploring the area by off-road cars. They had a unique program that combined natural sights with historical places, sometimes so ancient and mysterious that no one was left indifferent. The week concluded with the grand “People’s Friendship Mass Rafting” on the Katun mountain river.
For many guests, this adventure in Altai was a real eye-opener. “I have been living in Norway for 10 years now and nature there is also stunning. Now that I’ve visited Altai, I can also say with confidence that the nature here is fantastic,” said Yulia Shkolnikova from Latvia. “It can in many ways be compared with Norway - it’s very beautiful and fascinating. Yet there is one thing in Altai that Norway doesn’t have: I was impressed by the people, their culture and mentality. As a person who lives in Europe, I really miss such Russian communication and openness.”
After a busy program in Altai, the delegates of the “New Generation” spent two days in Moscow. They met with the representatives of Rossotrudnichestvo and the President of the Russian Rafting Federation Alexei Shirokov and did a bit of sightseeing. Many were surprised by the drastic difference between Moscow and Siberia. “To be honest, all I knew about Russia before is that it is a very large country. I could not even imagine that there are places like Altai. It’s even hard for me to pick one main impression,” said Luis Sanchez, a raft guide from Costa Rica.
The “White Water of Siberia” Forum aims to unite people from different corners of the world and prove that real friendships can exist despite national, cultural, religious, or language differences. “We all seem to have become one big family,” said one of the participants of the event, Ana Dudukovic from Serbia. “Despite the fact that we came from different countries and continents, we all share a strong love for wildlife, water sports, and other people who you can achieve a common goal with, become real friends and stay in touch in the future.”