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The 41st Annual Snowmass Balloon Festival was held September 16-18, 2016 and the weather for this years event was about as perfect as the festival has ever seen. The Crestwood is the lodging sponsor for all of the balloon pilots and it obviously comes with some perks, like being able to take a hot air balloon ride. I have had to wait 8 years for the opportunity to finally check this experience off of the bucket list and it was well worth the wait.

There is just something special about these flying vessels. The hot air balloon was the first successful human carrying flight vessel in history and the first flight was launched in 1783 in Paris, France. It's not only the technology that makes ballooning so special it's the people and places that really make hot air ballooning so much fun. I was lucky enough to fly with new friends from Albuquerque, NM in the "Spirit in the Sky" balloon. The Pendelton's have been ballooning for close to 40 years and now have three generations of pilots in the family. To say hot air balloons are in their DNA is an understatement. It was pretty incredible to fly with them and see the passion they have for the sport. What was even more impressive was their passion to share the experience with others. It is something I will never forget and hope to do again in the future!

Even if you don't have the opportunity to take flight in an hot air balloon, the Snowmass Balloon Festival provides attendees with the opportunity to get up close and personal with these gravity defying vessels. There are some great events throughout the weekend like the Carter Memorial Colorado Rat Race (a down valley race to see who can make it the furthest in 3 hours), the X Marks the Spot competition (seeing who can drop a bean bag closest to the center of the X) and the popular Night Glow on Fanny Hill. It is one of the longest running events in Snowmass and we hope it continues to awe for many years to come.

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