France
Courchevel
2019

Well it’s the day after our Show in Courchevel 1850 and having time to reflect and take a rest from driving back I thought its best to write this article while everything is still fresh in my head.

What a busy two weeks its been for us which started on Monday 11th February when our Pyrotechnics were collected by our shipping company. 90 Cartons loaded onto a crafter van bound for 1850. 2 hours into there journey there van encountered an issue and went into limp mode. A few frantic phone calls later, 90 cartons were swapped onto another van and he was on his way. The rest of the week was spent making sure we had got all the equipment ready, show folders completed and files downloaded into the panels. Followed by a day of testing the equipment to make sure was ready for the show. That weekend the hire van was collected followed by a trip to 1st Galaxy Fireworks to collect the lightweight mortar racks we were hiring for the show, then back to our offices where we loaded up both vans with the set-piece made by Sirotechnics Fireworks and the other equipment and hardware required for the show.

Play Video

"Well, it’s the day after our Show in Courchevel and having time to reflect and take a rest from driving back..."

The Setup

"A toast was made to the late Pete Thorley who had passed away only the day before."

Tom and Scott left our office early doors on Monday morning to head to the Eurostar while Mark went over to Smart Pyrotechnics to collect the remainder of the equipment and to pick up Steve Martin which made the 4 man crew required for the show. On the way down it became apparent that neither Tom nor Scott had been on the Eurostar before, so this was a first for the both of them which was made more interesting as this was Tom’s first-ever journey on a train! Once in France, they had a short 3 hour journey to Reims where they stayed the night before continuing the journey to Courchevel. While in Reims they headed out and found a local bar, which ended up being a bowling alley due to our location which was nowhere near the city centre. A toast was made to the late Pete Thorley who had passed away only the day before.

"The set piece was finished, and the slices were bundled together, waterproofed and plugged into I-Fires."

They were up and out at 7am on the Tuesday morning to head over to Courchevel which was a steady 6 hours 30 mins away. Once they arrived in Courchevel Le-Praz we pulled into a small layby and Mark called Sebastien who was our main contact while over there to find out the location of the hotel. While Mark was on the phone I realised there was a lot of smoke / steam coming from our van which was quite alarming, so I jumped out and opened the bonnet and the coolant was pouring out all over the floor and a face full of steam, so I closed the bonnet and took a steady drive to the hotel only 2 mins away from the layby and left the van to cool down. Later that evening we went and had a look at the site at 1850 followed by a 3 course meal in the local restaurant. The next day (Wednesday) was spent prepping the final items ready for the show on Thursday. The set piece was finished, and the slices were bundled together, waterproofed and plugged into I-Fires. Everything was then placed back into the container and the van was fixed and filled back up with coolant before we headed out for the evening where we discussed the plan of action before having an early night.

"Everything tested 100% so a quick final walk of the site was done before we went to mission control to watch the display."

Show Day was a tough one as we couldn’t get the vans to the site, so we borrowed two snow bully machines with baskets on the front and trailers to the rear to get everything to the site, bearing in mind we only had them for 1 hour which was a task in its self ! We managed to get everything to site where we started to set up. Tom and I started on the shells while Mark and Steve hit the front line. A quick staggered lunch broke the day up quite nicely, 1 hour before we were due to fire we could finally position the set piece on the slope including 20 jets sporadically placed around it. Everything tested 100% so a quick final walk of site was done before we went to mission control to watch the display. 20 mins before the show the Ski Instructors complete a torchlit decent and finish in front of the awaiting crowd. Unaware to them they went rather close to the set piece which made for a quick dash through the crowds and up the slope to the set-piece where only 3 jets were knocked over but the Centronics cable for the module had been pulled out! A quick check over and everything was good to go.

"The show fired perfectly and was a huge success"

The show fired perfectly and was a huge success, the only downside was the wait to find out the results of the competition which were in two weeks’ time. The de-rig was completed straight after the show which is hard enough, but the cold weather and soft snow made it even harder, but we had everything packed away and loaded into the vans by 1am which isn’t too bad in my books. The following morning, we left Courchevel and headed home. 16  hours later we arrived back at HQ, a quick unload of the vans and we were finished for the day.

"I am delighted to say that we won 1st prize (jury award) and the Prize Courchevel award!"

One week later Mark and Mel set off for the 10th Philippine competition and would be out there for almost 1 month. As normal they were warmly welcomed by Platinum Fireworks who took them to the hotel for the duration of their stay. I Set off from Birmingham airport on the Thursday afternoon heading to Courchevel for the prize ceremony. A quick drive from Lyon Airport took me to the hotel I would be staying at for the evening. Later that evening I met up with the organisers and the other teams representatives at 1850 and we were whisked via a gondola (Cable car to me and you) to a higher meeting point where we would wait before being driven back down the slope in the snow bully machines to the stage area in front of the crowd. After a few nervy moments waiting for the results I am delighted to say that we won 1st prize (jury award) and the Prize Courchevel award! After collecting the awards we headed off to watch the closing show. After the show I called Mark to tell him the good news and safe to say, he was ecstatic!

The Show