Hot air ballooning is nice, the views are stunning, etc. – but is it something an adrenaline junkie would enjoy?
Well, there are hot air balloon flight…and there are alp crossings with a hot air balloon. While a regular balloon flight is a nice and enjoyable ride, the alp crossing is certainly an adventure.
While regular balloon flights climb up to two miles in altitude, an alp crossing can reach up to 4 miles! Everyone who has been up there knows, that it is no walk in the park, given that our very much needed oxygen gets very thin very quickly. Mountaineers can adjust to higher altitudes via slow ascends and base-camp stays – the balloon climbs to 4 miles within half an hour. There is no way your body can adjust to those lower levels of oxygen up there, unless you run the risk of passing out quick.
There is only one possibility to be up there and still enjoy those stunning mountain views: additional oxygen supply. Every passenger is hooked up to a bottle of oxygen which is available via a regular breathing mask. While constant supply is not needed in order to keep your brain and body functioning, regular intervals of oxygen intake is recommendable.
Hot air balloons depend on the wind in order to get forward. Regular flights barely exceed 20-30 mph in ground speed – which still can be quite exciting depending on how fast the wind is on
ground level. Crossing the Alps with a balloon is definitely out of this world concerning speed – usually a car cannot keep up with it. While average speeds range around the 40-60 mph, the max
speed can be as high as 125 mph. The great thing about that: You don’t feel a thing, no wind in your face. Due to high wind speeds hitting mountain peaks, occasional turbulence can be experienced – more noticeable for the pilot than the passengers.
Not so boring after all, right? In case the wind at landing exceeds 10 mph it is getting even more adventurous. The balloon will be landed in a lying position, meaning that you will be lying on your belly 🙂
Crossing the Alps with an hot air balloon is exclusively done in the winter season. Cold winds from the north are needed to blow the balloon over the Alps to Italy. While it is not rare that the temperature at the take-off range between 5-10 F (-12-15 C), up at 4 miles high it can get down to -25 F. Good that the balloon has a nice and powerful burner right over the passenger basket, that keeps temperatures no lower than 20 F.
To summarize, there are balloon flights that satisfy all the needs a adrenaline junkie might have regarding „leisure activities“. Try it out 🙂[rev_slider alps]