The Ice Academy is a magnet for thrill-seekers from around the world, all keen to test their ice driving skills on the frozen lakes of Arjeplog. So let’s meet some of them and hear first-hand what it’s like.
Charlie from Plymouth, UK
“From the second you arrive here the scenery is mind-blowing,” says Charlie.
“And it’s amazing the difference you make in such a short time, to go from driving on tarmac to ice with confidence.”
In Arjeplog, spinning off the ice into a snow drift is all part of the fun. The cars are totally safe, and there is always an instructor nearby, ready to help you back onto the track.
“The instructors are incredible. Their teaching methods are fantastic because when you do something perfectly, they tell you it was amazing, whereas when you crash it’s never a problem.
“When they pull you out, it’s funny, there’s good joking. You learn from it as well. Now I know how to go about getting a car out if I ever did get stuck in the ice at home. You don’t just drag it. You do the digging, you align the wheels.”
Having owned a few Land Rovers, Charlie wanted to come and see what they could do on the ice, but he also loved the Jaguars he got to drive. “The F-TYPE is so much fun because it’s a little bit loose, so through every corner, you don’t really know what’s going to happen.
“It’s so satisfying when you pull off that perfect corner. There’s no feeling like it!”
Adila from Malaysia
Arjeplog could hardly be more different to Malaysia. Adila said: “Malaysia is a tropical country, so you don’t get this kind of weather. This is the first time in my life I have seen this much snow.”
“I love cars and I think Jaguar Land Rover does really brilliant cars. To be able to come here and experience this kind of weather and at the same time experience driving these kinds of cars on the ice tracks – it’s unparalleled.”
With over 50km of track to play on at the Ice Academy, Adila learned different driving skills on different parts of the lake.
“Driving the F-TYPE SVR around the circle track was my favourite part. Driving this car on the ice track is indescribable!
“I could see my progress from the first day. You learn to switch off your instinct and listen to what the car is doing.”
Peter and Jay from the Cotswolds, UK
Peter decided to mark Jay’s 40th birthday with a father-son trip to Arjeplog. “I thought we’d combine the snow with driving and that’s why we’re here.”
“I think the F-TYPE is the best car but it’s the scariest too,” Jay explains. “You don’t want to put your foot down too hard because it’s very easy to take it off the track.”
It wasn’t just the Jaguars they enjoyed though: “The Range Rover Velar was also very good. With the tight bends and tight tracks it was really grippy and pulled you out of the turns.”
Coming out to the Arctic Circle can be quite daunting. During their stay, temperatures dropped to below -30C.
Peter said: “We were a little bit concerned with the temperatures before we came, but they haven’t affected us at all. In fact, even at -30C it doesn’t feel -30C. We were supplied with some really excellent clothing which if anything was too warm.
So was it a good way to celebrate Jay’s 40th birthday?
“I’d definitely recommend this, 100 per cent. The first time I got on the track, I just had the biggest smile on my face” says Jay, looking over at his father, “the biggest smile he’s probably seen for a long time”.
Ben from Washington DC, USA
Having bought a Range Rover a couple of years ago, Ben received an email from Land Rover about the Ice Academy.
For him it’s all about the capability of the cars and learning to drive them in extreme conditions.
“I could never find these conditions at home so I just knew I had to come here to do it.”
“You get to do something you would never do anywhere else. You get to drive in a way that you wouldn’t do anywhere else. You learn driving techniques you’d never learn anywhere else and for someone who loves to drive that’s really cool.”
The Ice Academy also brings together people from all over the world.
“It was great to meet all the people here. We all have something in common; we are all very interested in driving. We get to talk about which cars we like the most and which activities we liked the most and that was something that was really nice to have.”
But what was Ben’s favourite part of the experience? “The Scandinavian flick. You drive your car through some cones and you try to skid it sideways the way that you see in an action movie. I have to say I felt really accomplished at that point. Obviously I’m now going to go home and try it on the streets of Washington DC,” he laughs.
We hope you’re joking Ben!
We’ll leave you with a final piece of advice from Adila: “Bring a load of warm clothing and be prepared to have lots of fun. That’s what this whole place is about – having fun and driving these fantastic cars.”
We hope to see you here soon!