For quite a number of years we have made the trip to Austria to the winter Alpine balloon meets. The reason being is that the air at that time of year is very cold and very stable which usually allows us to fly every day and provides spectacular views. The down side is we have a two day drive with Landrover and trailer, but with plenty of drivers that’s OK. The routine is normally a flight in the morning, skiing in the afternoon and lots of socializing in the evening, but always planning for a long flight over the mountains if conditions are right when you get up there.
One particular flight we were taking turns who was flying and who was following in the Landrover to retrieve and Dave & Kath had drawn the short straw. Graeme, Derek, Nicola and Julie took off from Schladming in the Steirmark region and flew north west towards Filzmoos for about 50 mins. We had then gone about as far as we could without overflying the Dachstein mountain, after several mins. deliberating should we shouldn’t we ( the main thing about mountain flying is making sure you have enough speed and duration to get to a suitable landing area once you have crossed them) we went for it. We had to climb to 12,500 ft. to get over the Dachstein and then dropped to 8,000 ft. over the lower mountains further north every direction was like upside down ice-cream cones. It is a good job we didn’t have to land for quite a while as the landscape underneath although very pretty wasn’t very inviting. We finally landed at Oberndorf near the German border after 3 hours 40 mins flying and 80 kilometres distance.
Dave and Kath finally found us two hours later and were very envious.