Destinations Magazine

Big Balloons At The Bischofsmutze

By Linda

Anyone who likes a little romance and enjoys a spectacular sight, will want to be at the Bischofsmütze mountain (Steiermark, Austria) during the winter ski season. That’s where they’ll find plenty of big balloons.

Big Balloons

The oldest successful human-carrying flight technology – invented in 1783 – is the iconic Balloon and basket. It was a French invention and for the first flight with man aboard, King Louis XVΙ decreed that only condemned criminals should be allowed to pilot. As it turned out, this didn’t happen and two other chaps flew it instead.

The traditional and still most popular Balloon is the Montgolfière, which relies solely on the buoyancy of hot air provided by a burner. Whilst colours and designs might differ, the shape is the same – balloon shaped!

Though since the 1970s, there has been a trend towards using character and object shapes (like cartoon characters, sausages and stuff) for promotional purposes.


Balloon flights are usually just after sunrise and just before dusk, when the weather is at its best and there are no thermic winds to make them wander from their course. In alpine areas, however, day time flying is also quite frequent as the air temperatures tend to be more stable.

Weather and wind in particular, are critical factors in determining when a balloon might fly. Most balloons are privately owned and their pilots don’t like to do it in the drizzle. Heaving 100′ of wet nylon across the living room floor seems to be something of a ‘turn off’ for them!

Launching and Landing

At the launch, the ground crew basically has to hang onto the balloon until the last minute, so that it doesn’t float away. When everyone’s on-board and everything inside is sorted, they let go. From first firing the gas heater to ‘take off’, takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Landing and repacking takes a lot longer!

Throughout the flight, the pilot is on the look out for somewhere safe to land. It has to be an open space with no power lines (these can cause a few concerns!). And hopefully somewhere accessible so that the ground crew can help with the recovery and packing. It’s along hard job for someone on their own.

Flight duration and distance depends on weather conditions and prevailing light, though night flight does take place. The longest recorded flight was made by Per Lindstrand, Richard Branson and Steve Fossett in the ‘Virgin Pacific Flyer’ (1991). They covered a whopping 6,761 miles between Japan and Northern Canada.

Bischofmütze Mountain

Set in the Styrian section of the Austrian mountains, Bischofmütze is a winter and summer sports mecca. And in January it will be the backdrop to one of the most romantic and breathtaking sights there is. On January 13th 2013 over 40 balloons will take to the night skies in an extravaganza for the eyes.

Choreographed to music, their colours will glow above the picturesque alpine village of Filzmoos. What more could you wish for to make a truly romantic memory, than a mountain winter wonderland, starry skies, mulled wine and a spectacular sight?

International BP Gas Balloon Trophy

Between 12.01.13 and 19.01.13, over 40 big balloon teams will meet at Filzmoos for the 34th ‘International BP Gas Balloon Trophy’ championship. Dawn and dusk – maybe the bits in between too – will see the skies filled with these graceful icons of ancient times.

Best book soon if you want holiday entertainment with a difference and to see this most romantic spectacle. Filzmoos is only a scenic drive away from Chalet Lowonahill, Stadl an der Mur and all the district of Murau has to offer.

Other Balloon Bonanza Dates In Austria

07.01.2013 – Tannheimertal Balloon Festival Tannheim


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