Up, up and away


A balloon over the Animas Valley Friday morning as a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train travels north during the media day liftoff before the Snowdown balloon lifts on Saturday and Sunday. Enlarge photo

DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald

A balloon over the Animas Valley Friday morning as a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train travels north during the media day liftoff before the Snowdown balloon lifts on Saturday and Sunday.

As if snow-capped mountains weren't view enough, this morning's Animas Valley view will be dotted with colorful, drifting balloons. The annual Snowdown Balloon Rally and Mass Ascension will take place at 8 a.m. at the Red Rock Ranch near Animas Valley Elementary School. The event includes dozens of balloons.

The varied temperature of air layers in the morning makes it a good time for ballooning.

“Those colder, heavier winds just kind of flow down the valley, just like water would,” said pilot Bryan Hill of Page, Ariz., on Friday as his balloon was carried south toward Durango by the current.

Though the balloons may look small when set against the towering mountains, they are sizable close up. Inflated, a typical balloon could hold about 8,400 basketballs.

If you missed the ascension this morning, another will take place at the same time and place on Sunday, the last day of Snowdown.

Herald Staff