I'm lucky enough in my work to go to some of the best hotels and resorts in the West Coast, Canada, and Hawaii. Part of my job is to take part in some of the "experiences" these hotels offer, and last week I was lucky enough to try out hot air ballooning for the first time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (Scroll all the way down for the film!)
It was an incredible feeling to be lighter than air, and be able to soar above Jackson Hole as high as 2500ft above the earth. I'm usually afraid of heights in many ways, so being able to overcome that fear and film the experience is something I'll never forget. If you're looking to do something incredibly fun that takes your breath away, I would recommend hot air ballooning to anyone.
There is a lot of wonderful tradition around flying a hot air balloon that goes back centuries.
The champagne toast at the end of the flight isn't simply arbitrary, there's actually meaning behind it! On November 21st, 1783 the first free flight carrying a person occurred in Paris, France. It was in a hot air balloon made out of paper and silk by the Montgolfier brothers. Although they knew filling it with hot air would allow them to lift off, they weren't sure how to control the craft, so each time they would float until the balloon landed, often in a remote country field. At this time in history, France and most of Europe was gripped by the fear of witchcraft, so these hapless aviators would more often than not be seized by the locals and burned alive. To remedy this issue, these balloonists reached out to King Louis the XVI of France, and he signed a decree that balloonists were allowed to carry Champagne that bore the royal crest, to show they were true Frenchmen.
At the beginning of the video there is an Irish prayer that was recited by balloonists long ago before takeoff, and one at the end to thank the sky for allowing their craft to land safely.
à la vôtre!