We have arranged a meeting down on Lake St. Moritz for a spot of Skijöring, but right now, up here on the Bernina Pass, it is somehow quite unbelievable. A Porsche 911 GT2 RS and a 911 ST on an ice-cold mountain pass covered with salt and grit, sections of which are completely hidden under snow drifts, with streams swollen with melt water following the twists and turns of the road as they rush into the valley below, and we let the most power-packed 911s of their time let loose. To fly along at breakneck speed, fighting tooth and nail for every micrometre of traction, and surrounded by a spectacular snow-white panorama that burns its way through from the eyeballs deep into one’s soul. This is what makes for unforgettable moments that will later be remembered as if they had happened in slow motion. And then there are moments that go by in a flash. Like the ones we experience a few minutes later down in the valley.
Skijöring goes something like this – a sufficiently long piece of rope is fastened to the tow hook of the towing vehicle, while the other end is picked up by, one hopes, an experienced skier. You move off cautiously – after all you don‘t want to make life more difficult than necessary for the daring skier tied to the rope before the fun has even started. And then you‘re off – making sure you‘re giving the skier behind you as smooth a ride as possible. Not too fast, but at a fairly vigorous pace in the straights, focused through the curves, and as smooth as possible through the sections in-between. After you‘ve travelled a few metres, there‘s no point in looking in the rear-view mirror, as everything going on behind you disappears in a cloud of swirling ice crystals. From now on, it‘s every man for himself. Skijöring is great fun, but basically you‘re on your own – up front, there’s a 700 bhp monster or a careering classic rally car designed to move along as elegantly as possible, while coming up behind, you are fighting with the force of gravity, centrifugal force, and loss of strength in your arms and legs.
(c) Stefan Bogner