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Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon

Utah Success Stories

(ABC4 NEWS – PARK CITY, UTAH) It’s early morning in Park City, Utah. Will Drummer and his crew are setting up cables to a wicker basket. Fans start blowing air into specialized fabric bag. This no normal bag, it’s technically called an “envelope”. It’s 80 feet long and is starting to take shape.

It’s time to add hot air.

The envelope starts to rise and wants to take the attached basket with it. The crew tells us all to put our weight on the basket to hold it down.

As part of Utah Success Stories, I get to see and experience a variety of things. It’s a fun way to check off a bunch of bucket list items. Full confession, I was a bit nervous about this one because I’m not a big fan of heights…but I looked at this as a “basket list” (note the “bad Dad joke”) item and had fun.

For Will, pilot and owner of Skywalker Balloon Company this is flight number twelve hundred and fifty-four. For me, this is flight number one.

The first thing I noticed is how gentle the ascent was. We quickly increased in altitude with Will controlling bursts of the burners.

It is clear the Will, a native of Austria, loves what he does as he described our 360-degree panorama; “Straight east you see a little cone shaped mountain, that’s kings peak, Utah’s highest peak. We see mount timpangos over there which is at 11, 750 I believe. We are 200 feet higher than that. So we are on average a thousand feet higher than the highest mountains in our mountain range.”

In addition to my videographer, Abby Lewis, we shared the basket with a family from Pennsylvania. Connie Godinez commented; “It’s fantastic. It’s really gorgeous out here.” Rey Godinez added; “This is amazing. Priceless.”

The quiet calm around us was breathtaking.

Ava Starks; “It’s a lot smooth than I thought it would be a lot bumpier and the process would take a lot longer.”

The only thing that you could hear is the occasional bursts of the burner. I got Ava’s younger brother, Lucas, to give me his best imitation of a burner sound. He roared with glee and got it down pretty good. Their father, Ray Starks was thoroughly impressed with the experience and said with a smile; “Very fascinating. I got to hold it and assist with the process. I might own a balloon company one day, very nice.”

If you get a change to take a “walk in the sky” with a hot air balloon, I say go for it!

With another Utah Success Story, with Skywalker Balloon Company, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

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