CANYONLAND is a non-profit event with the goal to promote canyoning among the locals as well as to promote Ticino and Switzerland as a top canyoning destination worldwide.
Canyoning – what is it?
Does it involve descending a river with a floating air mattress or a rubber dinghy? Or is it that sport in which people plunge down a river with a canoe or kayak? No?! Does it have anything to do with rafting or hydrospeed?
We hear all kinds of things, but that's understandable. Canyoning is not a mass sport, particularly not yet in Ticino. What's more, it is not an activity done in full view.
So, what is canyoning then?
Canyoning (from the Spanish word “Cañon” that means narrow and deep valley) is the excitement of descending a mountain river using climbing and caving techniques, through extremely beautiful landscapes, in wild, harsh and uncontaminated nature. It is a game with water: getting into the current and letting it carry you along toboggans naturally carved into sinuous gorges which have been patiently polished by millennia of erosion. It is an uneven but respectful challenge with the laws of nature: going under sparkling waterfalls and experiencing the thrilling force of water, plunging into stunning inviting natural water pools and feeling that moment of sheer emotion.
A brief history of Canyoning in Ticino
The first visitors to Ticino gorges and rivers were fishermen in search of more distant and less accessible places. Then, for the last couple of centuries, transporting wood on water was another reason to travel on rivers. In numerous Ticino rivers, remains of vertical grooves and strange hand-carved square holes are still visible to this day. They were used to anchor wooden dams, which were then blown up in order to carry down the valley, by means of an artificial flood, wood which had been carefully placed in the river bed. The remains of these ancient barrages bear witness to a much more dangerous and reckless activity than the sport that today is often defined, by those who are not familiar with it, as dangerous and extreme.
We have information about the first canyoning descents in Ticino dating back to 1987, when local mountaineers, attracted by the stir caused by this new sport in France and Italy, plunged into the water to explore wonderful gorges in the Ambra Valley as well as the Valleys of Malvaglia, Pontirone, Lodrino and more. Since then, Canyoning has been gaining in popularity in Ticino. Our climate definitely plays an important role. With mild temperatures as early as April and favorable weather until October, our region wins over Swiss canyoneers as well as an always larger array of canyoneers from European countries and even from other parts of the world. The gorges are wild and charming, and the concentration of river courses in a small area (more than 80 equipped canyons in the “Sopraceneri” area), make canyoning in the Ticino region a real treat.
CanyonLAND as RIC
RIC - Rassemblement International Canyoning - is the annual international canyoning meeting supported by the International Federation of Canyoning (IFC).
The RIC is a well-known and recurrent event. It occurs every year in the best canyoning places around the world.
Every year people from the five continents join the RIC to share their passion, know-how and culture.
After Flores in 2016 (Azores) and La Réunion in 2017, in 2018 the RIC will take place in Ticino - Switzerland, known for its granite canyons and wild nature, under the name CANYONLAND.