By Mary Mullaj
Winter is officially here, and what better excuse for a seasonal and educational vacation than the Porsche Ice Driving School. More extreme than simply driving a sports car, snow and ice driving is a way to learn useful skills for wintry weather and is also considered the holy grail of driving by its enthusiasts. Frozen lakes and snowy forest courses in Austria and Finland provide the ideal training conditions, and a personal tutor will help you harness you skills in the face of the most extreme challenges. Even if you never encounter winter streets in your daily life, attending the school for driving pleasure alone is worth it.
The Porsche school has three levels, and you can use one of the school’s 911 Carrera 4S or a Cayenne S, or bring your own. In controlled conditions, students push their driving skills to extremes on solid ice and packed snow in fifteen below zero temperatures. In the first “Precision” level, private instructors teach the basics of driving in treacherous conditions. Techniques included are proper braking, changing direction, and hill starts on low traction surfaces. After these skills become instinctual, instructors hold the “Performance” level courses, in Finland near the Arctic Circle, where snow is a given. The aim is to optimize your control while finding the racing line on slippery surfaces. Slalom skills on a downhill track, ideal breaking on serpentines, and a variety of special drift techniques are included. The highest level, “Masters,” uses Porches made exclusively for the selected terrain. With up to 500 spikes per tire, you experience unbelievable traction on icy surfaces. Drivers learn how to control the car using the accelerator pedal and how to use advanced load-change reactions for safe cornering.
Finally, instructors will demonstrate the huge potential of Porsche cars, showing you just how close one can go to the limits of driving physics. After completing the course at Porsche, you’ll probably be sad to see the end of ice and snow.