Snowmass history: Up, up and away

In wee morning hours, balloonists raced, jousted

Aspen Historical Society
Hot air balloons participate inthe ninth annual Snowmasss Balloon Festival on the golf course. It appeared in the Aspen Times on July 12, 1984.
Aspen Historical Society Aspen Times Collection/Courtesy photo

The ninth annual Snowmass Balloon Festival held in 1984 included races, jousting, chases and a “key grab” that all happened in the wee hours of the mornings, The Aspen Times described. Held at the launch site of the open meadow across from the Snowmass Rodeo Grounds, events like the “Dawn Quixote” balloon joust armed competitors with long sticks with a nail tip to puncture “20 tethered ‘target’ balloons.” With the “more traditional ‘Hare and Hounds’ chase,” the “‘hare’ balloon sets out the targets, and then the ‘hounds’ attempt to land as closely as possible to one or more” while the “key grab” was for the first balloonist able to navigate their balloon close enough to grab a “key” from a 20-foot pole a mile from the launch site.


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