605 Magazine joined Black Hills Balloons on a 2018 flight.  Here is what they had to say:


Black Hills Balloons provides hot air balloon tours over the southern hills of Custer Valley. Locals and Black Hills visitors are offered daily flights in the Custer area and local events. This tour experience all happens in the largest, most modern balloons in the five-state area.

The company was founded by Steve Bauer in 1984, and quickly became one of the most well-established attractions in the Hills. His commitment to the area and the local tourism allowed Black Hills Balloons to thrive for many years.

In 2015, Keely and Damien quit their day jobs in Florida, and jumped at the chance to take over the reins and move to the Custer area. Running the long-admired Black Hills Balloons was their ticket to the simpler, more adventurous life they longed for.

For most, flying in a hot air balloon is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list adventure.

However, flying through the Black Hills of South Dakota is more than that.

Touring the area in a hot air balloon allows guests to view completely untouched parts of the hills, without anyone knowing you were there. Sometimes balloons can be just inches from the treetops, without noise or making any movement.

Each flight begins at sunrise at a central meeting location in Custer. The balloon takes 20 minutes to prepare for flight, and once ready, the pilot and passengers begin their one-hour journey. The length of the flight is determined by weather and available landing locations.

Because hot air balloons literally go with the wind, no two flights are ever the same. Launch and landing locations vary daily, because pilots fly at various altitudes to navigate to a landing location.

The mountains, valleys, lakes, and prairies of the Black Hills are home to elk, antelope, whitetail and mule deer, and buffalo. Sometimes passengers even see mountain lions from the secure gondolas.

“When you fly with Black Hills Balloons, know that you’re flying with people who’ve made every sacrifice to be here; to share this day and moment with you. Our hope, however high, is that you’ll be inspired to do the same; to enjoy the simple things and take time to smell the mountain air,” said Wade.

Upon landing, the ground crew will pack up the balloon while passengers and pilot celebrate the flight with a complimentary champagne toast, light snacks, and a quick story about the origin of hot air ballooning.

There’s nowhere else in the world where you can witness the same views from a hot air balloon and fly over such a historic and beautiful landscape.”

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