Porsche Ice Experience

The drift starts slowly, clumsily if I am being honest, like someone who is stepping onto an ice rink wearing skates for the very first time. I feel unsure, wobbly at best, petrified at worst, as onlookers stare and a voice on the radio tells me to pick up speed and focus.

Porsche Ice Experience- Circuit Mécaglisse

Focus on what?

There is white everywhere I look, it’s as if I have suddenly found myself in the Arctic tasked with finding a point of reference in the great void of nothingness. Not to overstate the obvious, but you do realize there is no pole at the North Pole! Breathe, I say to myself, it’s only a $150,000 Porsche and they want me to spend the next three minutes going sideways in ever-tightening circles, on purpose, at speed no less! What could possibly go wrong?

The truth is, very little could go wrong and that’s one of many things that makes a day at the Porsche Ice Experience so incredible. It is without a doubt one of the most exhilarating and humbling driving events I have ever attended in my many decades of automotive journalism and I would go back again in a heartbeat.

Porsche Ice Experience

You see, with the high snowbanks and artfully crafted ice track surfaces, and with many obvious points of reference once you catch your breath and focus like they tell you to, there is a better chance you will get everything right while playing in the snow in the cars dreams are made of, then it could all go horribly wrong. So what better place could there possibly be to learn to drive fast on snow and ice than in a controlled setting with experts teaching you all the intricacies of advanced winter driving at every turn.

The day is broken up into specific segments. There is the aforementioned snow skid pad, a winding ice and snow-covered road course with high banking and orange, green and yellow cones at turn-in points, or to increase the challenge by adding a slalom mid track. Along the way, there are many spotters on the course to aid if necessary or offer a thumbs up and smile when you get it right. Personally, I prefer the thumbs up!

Porsche Ice Experience

My day at the track ends with a straight line two-way snowy drag strip with more cones strategically placed to practice the fine of art of braking, sliding and applying power at just the right moment to continue going around the corner sideways in what is typically termed a power slide. Or as I learned on many occasions, applying power a little to soon or not soon enough and finding myself pointed in the wrong direction, but still smiling.

Instruction takes many forms. There is the obvious getting together in a group at the start of the day to get the basic instructions of what and what not to do. Given the as previously mentioned value of the Porsche’s we are driving, its always good to know the rules of the road, or in this case ice and snow. There are also many times throughout the day when you can get some personal time with the instructors to discuss and mostly listen to the finer points of driving in these winter conditions.

Porsche Ice Experience

One of my favourite ways of learning is watching our lead drifting instructor squat down in the snow and teach us how to create and hold the perfect drift line using a toy-sized Porsche 911 on the snowy surface of the course. It’s the perfect way to put everyone at ease, it’s just a toy after all, while making his point clear on when to accelerate in earnest and when to feather the accelerator peddle for best results.

A day at the track ends with dinner and accommodations provided at Estérel Resort located in the Laurentians in the Province of Quebec. The setting is spectacular year round, but there is something uniquely appealing looking out from my balcony on to a frozen and snow covered Lake Dupuis.

Snowmobiles pass by the hotel at speed as the sun sets and campfire embers float casually into the evening sky nearby. Dinner is served with wine pairings and vanilla crème brûlée capped with field berries is the perfect desert topping to the day. Back in my studio suite, the only thing left to do is turn on the gas fireplace and drift off dreaming about completing a perfect lap on the skid pad and then repeating this performance on the road course. One can always dream!

Link: Porsche Ice Experience

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