David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/16 10:34 a.m.

Most of us learned how to drive on snow and ice the same way: through trial and error. If we were lucky, we had an empty high-school parking lot and a free Saturday at our disposal. And if we weren’t so lucky, that learning experience included a few bent fenders.

There is an alternative: the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, located just outside the skiing mecca of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. For 30-plus years, this school has taught the fine art of driving on an extremely slippery surface: ice.

The school offers a full curriculum, from their partial-day First Gear basic safety school to a two-day Fifth Gear performance program. Private lessons and custom programs are also available. We did the full-day Second Gear course, which they say is their most popular option.

How much? $495 per student.

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MFE New Reader
2/5/16 4:49 p.m.

I attended this school several years ago and it was tremendously helpful. The most surprising thing I learned is that every single thing we know about load transfer as it relates to car control still applies on snow and ice, it just takes a lot longer to happen.

6pak72 New Reader
2/5/16 7:36 p.m.

OK, so with a lot of respect and sensitivity, I totally have to offer an additional oipportunity.

Everyone in the entire GRM community needs to look up Audi Club North America. In my region, two clubs - NorthEast Quattros (NEQ) and North Atlantic Audi Club (NAAC) offer a tremendous experince called Winter Driving School.

(Yes, I'm an Audi instructor)

NAAC runs a two-day course in the White Mountains of NH at the Team O'Neil (yes, that O'Neil) Rally School. Once you get out of your bed at the Mountain View Grand Hotel (google it, one of the 20 or so Grand Hotels surviving), and have a lovely breakfast of salmon, eggs, oatmeal (this is NH, ya know) and coffee, we offer a two-day 12-hour extravaganze of skid-pad, cone-course/braking box, and road course.

Day two, we run a time trial on the snow!

Bring your own car, or SUV, or Mommy-wagon, or even a Miata (did I do that?). Enjoy a 1-to-1 in-your-right-seat-instructor experience, including the experts from Team O'Neil as well as our local Audi amazing crew. Learn how to be safe, balanced, and quick on snow and ice.

As for NEQ, this central-NE club delivers an amazing on-a-Lake experience. Travel to the far north of NY and VT to drive on the smooth and super-slippery surface of a frozen lake! Great hotels, including around the Lake Placid area (remember the 1976 Winter Olympics?), offer fine accomodation and sustenance. And as always, a Saturday evening Social and Banquet connects you to the wonderful people you've met during the day.

NEQ partners with local ice-racing clubs and supplies instructors for day one, and opens the door to on-ice time trial or open racing on day 2.

All makes of cars and every level of driver from permit-holder to experienced racer are welcome.

These two Audi clubs are not the only ones to offer this school - take a look around and sign up to your local. You'll be welcomed by great people and stunning drivers.

chiodos HalfDork
2/5/16 7:39 p.m.

So your saying, since it's in Colorado, we can get high...and drive... In the snow...at the same damn time?

rslifkin Reader
2/5/16 7:59 p.m.

Hmm... I don't think I'll be able to make that Audi event this year, but it's close enough I should plan to go next year. I wonder what the instructors are gonna think of the cammed, stiff suspensioned nightmare toy of a Jeep

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