On arrival at the lake, we make our way to a large oval track, where we’ll learn the basic principles of ice driving, passing along the way a warning sign that bears the message ‘quattro only’ – well, it’s good to know I’m in the right car for the job…
After a few laps of the oval, Jerry’s advice begins to sink in. The key to driving well on ice is to use the car’s weight to encourage it to turn in. The first method we’re taught is to lift off the accelerator or brake on the way into the corner, shifting the weight onto the front wheels and getting the rear to swing round. After getting used to sliding, we’re then told to try the rally-driving technique known as a Scandinavian flick. Made famous by the region’s rally heroes in the 1960s, it involves sharply flicking the car towards the outside of the corner before turning in, further enhancing the weight transfer and pendulum effect.
Satisfied we’re getting the hang of it, Jerry directs us onto one of the twisting circuits, which are a far trickier proposition than the spacious oval. As day one wears on, each driver drifts further and further sideways – and, from time to time, one of the cars finds itself perched precariously on top of the snow bank that lines the track.
After a long day spent learning the rudiments of ice driving, we head back to the hotel for a snowmobile tour, during which we traverse frozen lakes and travel through magical, snowy forests. En route, our earlier efforts are rewarded with a delicious dinner of Arctic char (a cold-water fish closely related to salmon and trout), cured reindeer and roasted moose. Back at our hotel, we enjoy a nightcap at an igloo bar – an apposite way to conclude a remarkable day.
Words by James Clark. Photographs by Greg Pajo