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Spring snow cancels hot air balloon competition

Oct 13, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The snow was a nice sight for many, but it ruined the day for some local balloonists.

"There was a lot of excitement towards this event, because it's the first-of-its-kind," said David Eichhorn, former president of Top Gun Competition Balloon Club.

There was anticipation for balloon pilots, and spectators for the Top Gun Ballooning Competition early Sunday morning, that is until some weather snowed on their parade.

"It was going to be great," said Eichhorn.

Over 20 balloon pilots came to Double Eagle Airport in Albuquerque with hopes of competing in different tasks against each other in a competition, but New Mexico's springtime weather shut things down.

"As far as I know, we have never had hot air balloons fly into Double Eagle," said Eichhorn.    

Albuquerque saw some snowfall during the winter months, but just a few days into spring, it feels more like a white Christmas than what people saw during the holidays.

But as some New Mexicans have mentioned before when there was wild weather just last month, this isn't out of the ordinary.

"Normal, it does this all of the time, this is normal New Mexico," said Alyssa Gowan, an Albuquerque resident.

This wild spring weather affects balloon pilots who are just trying to get in the sky.   

"The visibility is fine here on the ground but once we are in the air, that visibility could go a go away," said Shane Shipman, board member of the Top Gun Competition Club.

The hopes are to get this competition up and running again soon without this wintry weather crashing the party.

"Either next month or a few months after that," said Shipman.

Lauren Green | KOB For Related Stories: