Hot-Air Ballooning - Expectations?
“One word - Awesome!”

You've been invited to go hot-air ballooning.
 
All of a sudden anxiety sets in. Your stomach knots up. You say… "I'm afraid of heights… what do I do?"

You have so many questions … are balloons safe?

How high do we go?

What do I wear?

First off…did you know…  ballooning is the safest form of flight transportation?

It's true!
 
Balloons are capable to flying at treetop level or above the clouds.

Imagine suspended above the earth and feeling no motion or fear of height.

You see… There are three things that cause folks to be afraid of heights …

… And NONE of them happen in a hot-air balloon.
 
First… there's the natural fear of motion… that butterfly-in-your-stomach feeling you get when you're in an elevator or on a Ferris wheel.
 
However, balloons are so large… and move so slowly that there is no feeling of motion at all!
 
The second fear is …the fear of falling.  This is like when you're on a ladder or the edge of the roof where you know… if you make one wrong step you're going to fall and hurt yourself.
 
But, the sides of the balloon basket are high enough that you'd have a hard time jumping out … let alone falling out … so that fear does not happen.

The LAST fear is the fear you get from centrifugal force.  You see… the earth is a spinning object and the farther away you get… the faster you spin.
 
Some people have such a sensitive inner ear - the ability to keep their balance - that when they go up in a high place they feel like they are going to fall.
 
That's because they're spinning faster and their balance is thrown off.
 
Ever heard someone say "I don't need to go near the edge or look out the window… just being up here makes me feel funny"
 
That's because - even though looking out the window isn't the problem - they're spinning faster and their inner ear hasn't gotten use to it.
 
But… when you're in a balloon, you're no longer attached to the spinning object.  So you actually spin LESS than if you had stayed on the ground!

Hot-Air Balloons can fly at treetop level or above the clouds…

Imagine looking down at the scenery  500 to 1000 feet below… sailing peacefully with the wind.

You'll feel like the whole world is yours to explore and enjoy. It's an adventure of a lifetime.

Bring your camera or smart phone and take lots of pictures.

Be sure to take some shots of the crew preparing the hot air balloon. Shots… like… unpacking the balloon from its case and unfolding it.
 
Now… if you really want a story to tell your friends and family back home… pitch in and help. But get someone else to capture the shots of your vigorous efforts.

Afterwards… you'll feel less lethargic… more energetic.

Depending on the shape and weight of the balloon, sometimes it takes two or more people just to hold open the neck of the balloon so it can be filled with air.

The pilot turns the burner on and heats up the air so that the balloon starts inflating.

Balloon flights depart shortly after sunrise when the earth is still cool and winds are calm. So if you're wondering …

What do you wear on your hot-air ballooning ride?

We recommend dressing in comfortable layered clothing… since you'll be climbing into and out of the basket and standing for a length of time.
 
Wear comfortable walking shoes and you might even want a hat too.
 
Be sure to include your sunglasses to protect against the sun. If you're more sensitive to the sun pack some sunscreen to put on.

OKAY… Ready for some fun? Let's go…

Imagine going hot-air ballooning  from a catamaran…

That's what we said… if you're visiting the Lake Tahoe area between May and October?
 
Make reservations with Lake Tahoe Balloons, and then get ready for a trip of a lifetime.
 
Imagine… a hot air balloon ride over Lake Tahoe.

hot-air ballooning over a lake

The lake and its surrounding mountain peaks are dazzling from the ground, but sailing out on a catamaran - the Tahoe Flyer - climbing aboard your balloon and drifting up and away above the lake is absolutely breath-taking.

While cruising to the designated launch site enjoy a deluxe continental breakfast onboard. 

Once you reach the launching site, watch - the crew get the balloon ready for flight right from the upper deck of the catamaran.
 
Once the balloon's inflated… climb into the basket - made of rattan, individually woven by hand onto a rigid frame.

And then it's VIOLA' - LIFT-OFF! And away you go… drifting high above Lake Tahoe up into the fresh alpine air.

Your experienced - knowledgeable pilot acts as your guide… pointing out many of the local points of interest and Tahoe’s extraordinary beauty. Like…

  • Emerald Bay
  • Fallen Leaf Lake
  • Cascade Lake and 
  • Desolation Wilderness Area

On many days you can even see the peaks in Yosemite and the coastal foothills - over 150 miles away!
 
In operation since 1992, Lake Tahoe Balloons launches and recovers its balloons from the lake itself.

As the balloon drifts across the lake, the Tahoe Flyer follows.
 
At the end of the journey… the pilot guides the balloon down towards the lake… where the crew of the Tahoe Flyer catches it and brings it in safely back onto the upper deck of the catamaran.
 
 After your voyage… enjoy champagne, mimosas and snacks while sailing back to the dock.

The whole trip takes around 4 hours, so give yourself plenty of time.

Don't let being confined to a wheelchair stop you from enjoying a hot-air balloon ride…

Ever dreamed of going for a hot-air balloon ride, but think you can't because you're in a wheelchair?  Well surprise. You can. Really!

You see… Up & Away Ballooning - in the Sonoma Valley region - is the only hot air balloon company in the United States offering a truly wheelchair accessible balloon ride.

This company's special basket lets you sit in your chair and soak up breath-taking views spanning out over 180-degrees.

And… no… you're not tethered to the ground.

Soaring high in the air … you'll enjoy beautiful meadows, vineyards, trees and animals below… while you're floating away on the gentle winds.
 
Depending on how high you ascend, you might get a chance to see the Pacific Ocean... look out over the Napa Valley - or on a clear day - see the city of San Francisco some 60 miles away!

Afterwards... enjoy a one-of-a-kind gourmet brunch - served on beautiful hand-painted plates with pictures of their balloons on them at one of the area wineries like... Kendall-Jackson Winery

Drink champagne and juice - poured in logo engraved stemware - and toast all the new aeronauts.

We've just touched on a couple of special hot-air balloon rides to enjoy…

There are many, many companies throughout Northern California offering a wide range of hot-air-balloon riding experiences.

Whether you want to propose to the love of your life… celebrate an anniversary or birthday… or just float leisurely above the earth.
 
Maybe you're into getting the rush of a true free fall from hot-air balloon jumps!
 
If that's your thrill, check out Sky Drifters - in Rancho Murieta - around the Sacramento area!

Hot-air ballooning is the perfect choice for a memory of your lifetime.

So... what are you waiting for... let’s go!


Return from Hot-Air Ballooning to Weekend Getaways

Return from Hot-Air Ballooning to Home

Related Pages

Panning for gold