Last weekend, driving enthusiasts met at Lake Cynthia in Prior Lake to test their driving skills in icy driving conditions. Hosted by the Glacier Lakes Quattro Club, the event enabled participants to practice driving in conditions where there's little to no adhesion in order to help them understand the best steering practices.
Keith Anderson, one of the main instructors, began teaching ice driving with his twin brother Kent in 1992 in Austria, and started doing it in Minnesota in 1994. They've been doing it on Lake Cynthia since 1996. The brothers learned how to drive on the ice in a '47 Studebaker when they were growing up in Brooklyn Center. "We're really passionate about this," Anderson says. "It's so easy to teach people car control skills on the ice, but so many people out there don't know shit about what they're doing."
Around 40 people attended the ice driving event. Drivers ranged from beginners, who took lessons from the more experienced drivers, to people who race competitively.
Several courses were laid out, including a skid pad to test drivers' ability to steer in a tight circle. "If you got it down right then your radius is tight. If you don't, you're in the snow bank," Anderson instructed the drivers.
There was also a slalom course, a set of cones that drivers had to weave through. Drivers were advised to take out the throttle and steering, and get their radiuses tighter. If they veered off course, there was a snow plow on hand to dig them out of the snow.
Another set of cones were set up as an obstacle, as though the driver was driving on a two-lane road where there is something in the way up ahead.There was also a lap plowed on the lake so drivers could learn how to handle corners at high speeds.
"The point is to get experience with the loss of traction," says Ioannis Nompelis, who has been coming to the event for years and is now an instructor. "You have to make quick decisions; you don't want to become a passenger in your own car."
Pedro Afable moved to Minnesota four years ago and from day one he started looking at car forums online, where he found out about the Glacier Lakes Quattro Club, and has been to a number of events, both in winter and summer. "Watching the cars drifting those corners--that's art," Afable says.
Ivar Nelson was a newbie at the event; he heard about it from a neighbor. Nelson grew up driving on icy Minnesota roads, but he wanted to hone his skills. "It went well," he says. "It's nice to have an instructor. It's really a matter of concentration."
There are three more Ice Driving events planned on Lake Cynthia on January 30, February 13, and February 27. The cost is $60 for non-members. Click here for details and to register.