Once a year, car enthusiasts from around the world flock to the small town of Gimli Manitoba, to spend an adrenaline-charged day behind the wheel with Mercedes-Benz. There, North America’s 8km ice racetrack awaits- where guests enjoy the rugged adventures of off-course riding and for the daring- ice drifting! 

 

The Experience of a Lifetime

This exclusive affair is known as The AMG Winter Sporting event, only held in Arjeplog, Sweden, and now in Gimli, Manitoba. Not only is this quaint Canadian town, home to the world-famous Crown Royal Whiskey, but is located off Lake Winnipeg, a larger body of freshwater that transforms into the racetrack. The course needs to be 40cm thick to drive on, but can quickly freeze to 150cm on a good day. This is not only ideal for road conditions, but has also been used by the Royal Canadian Air Force to land small aircrafts.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz @amgda_canada

A Mercedes-Benz Welcome                             

Once you arrive in Gimli, Mercedes-Benz pairs you with top drivers in the industry, under the AMG Driving Academy to help you master enhanced-performance techniques. It’s a pretty epic scene, driving out as a fleet with luxury models ranging from the GLS, E, C, and A-class. Mercedes starts by teaching you the basics of driving in icy conditions and how to prevent an accident when you lose traction through a turn. I felt safe and excited to put my 4MATIC all-wheel drive up against unruly terrain.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz @mercedesbenzcanada

First Up, Off-Roading 

The best part of off-roading is testing the limits of man-made machines amidst open nature. This course is full of exciting drops! With engines packing so much power, you have to be careful as you hit that pedal to the metal when climbing peaks, or you will easily suspend in the air before crashing down those icy hills! This is where the holographic dashboard displaying your speed comes in handy. I also loved jumping in and out of the various SUVs to test the handling-but really who didn’t? They had the GLB, GLC, GLE, and the GLS, and despite it being a cold day, it didn’t feel so bad with those heated leather-clad seats. Luckily, all vehicles were surprisingly intuitive with amazing traction, absorbing any bumps thrown their way. 

Breana- Journalist For HOLR @breanatheartist

The Epic Ice Drift  

From the moment you roll out onto Lake Winnipeg, it’s hard not to be captivated by its stark beauty. It has a natural minimalist appeal, as the ice fades beyond visible horizons. The only obstacles on the course are the snowbanks that you should avoid unless you want to damage a good paint job! I was thrilled to snag, Melanie Paterson, as my instructor- a former professional race car driver. Melanie taught me how to rev up my Mercedes E63S and then break at the perfect moment before turning into corners to lose traction and slide into the perfect drift. I even learned to feather the throttle, to maintain this smooth glide even longer before powering-out and accelerating forward. How exhilarating!

Ice castle

Photo Credit: @Roblosch @travelmanitoba and @mercedesbenzcanada

A Winter Wonderland 

From the sparkling snow crunching under my boots to gazing up at a custom-built garage made from 88,000 pounds of ice- this was the ultimate winter getaway. As a brand, Mercedes-Benz’s attention to detail is unparalleled. I loved seeing the wooden Cabins, strategically placed on the driving course, where guests could stop by and cozy up with hot apple cider, fresh coffee, and delicious snacks.

Breana- Journalist For HOLR @breanatheartist: Standing in front of wooden cabin on the ice track

The AMG Winter Sporting event even flew in Juno-award winning Band Said the Whale to perform along with the famed Arkells who rocked the house down, in the ice- garage. But what’s more is Mercedes-Benz craftsmanship, from the hand-built engines under each hood, bearing the signature of its single creator. And who can forget, the Lappi tires that have over 400 2.2 mm studs, hand glued in Sweden by a husband and wife team- they aim to please!  

The Arkells Band Performing live in the Ice Garage

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz @amgda_canada

How to Get Involved 

If you’re looking to embark this icy- adventure, you can check out Mercedes-Benz packages. Programs span two to three days, allowing you to drive an array of luxury models. The AMG Driving Academy is open to everyone with a valid driver’s license. They even set up accommodations, along with an inspired menu at the Lakeview Resort. Drivers start with the $2,195.00 CDN Performance Course-that teaches enhanced techniques that graduate to Advance, Pro, and finally, Pro-Plus classes. It all depends on how you want to up the ante and increase your skillset. And for those of you who have a cool boss, be sure to let them know Mercedes-Benz also hosts corporate parties.

Escape To The North

It’s all about the drift, a ridiculously entertaining maneuver that requires both precision and a coordinated effort on the part of the driver. This is hands down the most fun you can have in a car. This trip is about making time  for play and redefining freedom in style- with one Mercedes vehicle at a time. So what are you waiting for? 

Mercedes-Benz Garage Gigs x Said The Whale

When life gives you 88,000 lbs of solid ice, make a one-of-a-kind ice garage and host an unforgettable show. Experience the virtual concert yourself.

Posted by Mercedes-Benz Canada on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

 

For all the info on the AMG Driving Academy follow @amgda_canada #mbownstheice 

For more on events and lifestyle follow on @HOLRmagazine

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