For 40 years, pilots have been gathering in Snowmass for the area's annual balloon fest. What's a balloon festival? It's three days of high-flying hot-air balloons that bring thousands of spectators out to view the kaleidoscope of colors in the sky.

Because the pilots use the wind currents and need calm air to fly, they launch early in the morning. On the Friday of the festival, they were scheduled to partake in the Rat Race, competing against one another in a "race" that contours Brush Creek to the Roaring Fork Valley. But, the winds kept them from flying. 

Photo: @aspensnowmass

However, on Saturday and Sunday they were able to take to the crisp, blue skies to the delight of families and spectators watching from the ground. The pilots circled the skies for several hours, eventually landing in unexpected places like hilltops and front yards around Snowmass Village. Others were able to make it back to the Town Park grassy lawn from which they took off. 

There isn't another festival like this in the United States. Yes, they fly in mountains towns, but never during the spectacular colors of the fall. Those brightly color-blocked balloons against nature's own prism are just breathtaking. It reminds me that while we can create beautiful aesthetic, nature is often the best designer of all. 

Christine BenedettiComment