Initially I had signed up for a Ferrari drive the FF on snow and ice racetrack course, and was much looking forward to driving the 660HP FF sideways on snow and ice (I mean, how was it possible to say no to that?).
Unfortunately, due to abysmal snowfalls this year, while Colorado had more snow than we did in Tahoe, it wasn't enough for the snow racetrack. At the last minute Ferrari contacted us to let us know that they had to turn the track event into a street rally and also gave us the option of cancelling.
I figured I had already made plans to go and snowboard afterwards, and while it wouldn't quite be what I was hoping for, I figured driving around some new FFs still couldn't be half bad, so I went :)
appealing snow track seen from the plane while landing in Aspen
In the end, we drove to two different nice lunch locations around Aspen. For the most part, no snow, but luckily we found some unmelted snow on the road around our lunch place, and hit a bit of a snowstorm at the top of a pass.
The first morning, we got an introduction to the cars:
the trunk can be quite roomy :)
the parking cameras are good
my partners in crime and our instructors
Got a briefing before going:
It was a bit agonizing to drive such fast cars at the legal speed limit on great curvy roads when they were dry, but thankfully it was more interesting to experience how the traction control worked in the few bits of driving we did in the snow.
Let's start with the first day:
driver switch, just in time for me to try driving in the snow
and we got to our lunch spot
lunch with my 2 co-drivers :)
driver switch again, just in time for me to drive in small snowstorm over the peak. Yeah!
we had better traction than this poor truck
the pictures taken from outside were from the event photographer
And that was it for day #1.
My verdict: while the car would obviously start to fishtail a bit when 660hp were gunned in the straight line in the snow, when in snow mode, except for understeering if you went too fast into a turn (which is kind of impossible for any car to fix due to physics), it handled superbly. Because we were on public roads, I only dared pushing it so much to see if it would misbehave or not, and all I got was indeed a bit of understeer in a turn, and nothing else. I gave it too much power in some snow turn and the on demand 4WD system kicked in without me knowing and allowed me to make a normal turn at a speed much higher than any rear wheel drive car I know would have. I was almost scary because it pretty much behaved as if the snow wasn't there :)
The next day, we came back for more and a drive towards Vail this time. Weather was sunny, so no snow, but that was ok, the scenery was pretty.
Aaaah, tunnels. THOSE were fun :)
We then had lunch not too far from Vail:
Our lunch break spot
And then back on the road:
from the event photographer, taking me in action
We had a bit more road room to try the car acceleration and of the best part was going through some beautiful tunnels. Tombo captured better sound than me on his cell phone (first video) and I put a few bits together from the GoPro videos. Nothing really spectactular, and that's actually part of the point: the car works really hard to go fast without going sideways and generally to keep you out of trouble :)
If you want a better video, Tiff did a slightly better job than me :)
And before we knew it, it was over. While in the end it wasn't the hella fun drive sideways in the snow event that I was hoping for, considering that the weather did not allow for it, Ferrari did a great job coming up with alternate plans and plotting two fun drives for us to try the cars out and explore the beautiful scenery around Aspen.
This also gave me an excuse to go snowboarding around the Aspen Mountains, which is never a bad thing :)
Thanks to the organizers, the instructors, and my partners in crime for the good time we all had.