Finns offer the joy of driving on ice

Helsinki, Dec 22: A lot of tourists visiting Finland during winters are getting amazed to see the way Finns enjoy a great time driving on ice, as winters put Finnish people’s driving skills to the test.

Foreigners are astonished to see how these people manage to drive a car on a frozen lake in below 30 degree weather. No wonder why the ice circuits continue to draw so many drivers here, reported.

Finnish driving academies offer tailored driving programmes that don’t leave anyone cold.

For instance, the Juha Kankkunen Driving Academy, named after a four-time rally world champion, offers training in driving fast and on slippery terrain in safe conditions.

The Kuusamo area, a major centre for winter sports which receives around a million tourists annually, offers a selection of ice circuits combined with breath-taking scenery and incredible experiences.

“When we drive, in freezing cold weather, onto the ice on a 10-tonne tractor, many people consider the experience a unique one according to the feedback we have received,” says Olli Kettunen, a driver.

The most popular product, however, is the fast driving course which has been tailored to meet individual driver’s needs.

While for some, clean driving and learning the “power slide” are important, for others, the use of a car’s modern safety equipment in extreme conditions matters the most.

“We also provide training for companies and people who drive a lot in their work,” says Kettunen.

“We go into how the car’s ESP system (an automotive safety feature) works, how to carry out emergency evasive manoeuvres and how the car functions without safety equipment, all at high speeds.”

According to Kettunen, driving practice is individualised to match the customer’s level of knowledge and skills. “Our customers also include race-car drivers and people aiming at a career in racing, who come to brush up their skills and learn something new.”

He says one of the fastest programmes is “Rally Taxi” where the customer gets to act as co-driver of Juha Kankkunen himself along a narrow frozen stretch of road.

“The trees along the beautiful wintry road become a blur, as you whizz by exciting crossings and the speedometer exceeds 200 km per hour.”

Drivers, from all over the world, arrive in Kuusamo area to train in extreme conditions.

Not just that, the area’s location in guaranteed cold conditions and the excellent circuits have also stimulated automobile manufacturers’ interest.