Nunayak Rafting
Rafting Canyoning Canoe-rafting
Airboat Hydrospeed
Via ferrata in Haute-Savoie
 
Aprill to october (BASE START)
Le Bellavista
F-74740 Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval
 
July to August (BASE FINISH)
Résidence Les Rhodos
Avenue du Giffre
F-74340 SAMOENS
 
Tél : 04.50.93.86.74
Mobile : 06.75.72.84.21
Email : contact@nunayak.com
   
 
 
     
 
 
     
  A brief history lesson  
   
 
Although the original human inhabitants of the valley may have come for many different reasons, all would have faced the same struggle to carve out a place to live amidst nature at its rawest. The iron ore to be found locally offered a way of escaping the uncertainty of farming in these mountains. .
 
 
 
 
Farmers and herders for centuries, the locals were also miners, stone carvers, peddlars and also smugglers.

From 1860, the valley began to attract visitors who flocked to see the splendours that nature had decided to gather together in one place.

The locals would help guide the new arrivals up mountains and some of them gradually transformed their homes into guest-houses, or built hotels and later ski-lifts.

After the famous Abbey was built, the valley's population started to grow. Generation after generation, man has cleared land for use in farming and animal husbandry.
In turn this led to the creation of a dairy industry. But the climate held down yields, and the early farmers suffered from a series of natural disasters: landslides, fires, floods.
 
 
  Mountain peasants organised themselves around the need for fodder to feed their animals. Thus they would have three houses, and over the course of the year they would move families, cattle and equipment in search of the precious "green gold". The main farmhouse would be on the valley floor or lower slopes: grass here would be cut for hay in the summer, with a second cut in the autumn, and stored for winter food.

In the spring the farmers would get moving: they would take their herds to "foris", small houses surrounded by grazing pasture, at intermediate altitudes. The annual cycle would be completed with the "montagnage", the climb to their high alpine pastures in early summer, by which time the grass would be sufficiently high and nourishing after the disappearance of winter's snow. When the snow returned they would leave the mountain, returning to their village for the winter -- the démontagnage.

 
     
 
 
 
The valley's "mining frenzy" began in 1807, as people attempted to extract copper, silver, lead, iron and gold. A series of individuals took on ownership of the mines which remained in operation, albeit only for pretty slim pickings of iron ore, extracted in dangerous circumstances, until 1853.
Jacques Balmat, the first man to climb Mont Blanc, died in the Mont Ruan area at the age of 72 whilst prospecting for gold.

 
As with other Alpine valleys, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval was "discovered" by English tourists, seduced by the "splendours that nature has chosen to bring together in one place".
A generation of stone carvers was born, spread out along the upper Giffre valley. Their reputation spread beyond the valley's narrow confines. In summer they would leave the valley to work on building sites throughout Europe. This form of summer emigration is specific to the upper Giffre.
This was followed by the construction of the first mountain refuges, the railway linking Annemasse to Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, and the first ski lifts. The tourist adventure had been transformed into a key part of the economy.
 
     
 
     
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