Every January, The Porsche Club Of America Rocky Mountain Region puts on it’s annual Eiskhana event on Colorado’s frozen Georgetown Lake so participants can gain a greater understanding of the skills required to drive their cars on ice, as well as, learn the capabilities of their cars and how they perform in icy conditions.  The 2011 event took place on January 22nd.

We were on the highway out of Denver at 6 a.m. for the Eiskhana event on Georgetown Lake. Now I understand why Colorado skiers want another lane going up the mountain – there’s always gridlock at Idaho Springs weekend mornings. Slow moving for miles!  My husband and I arrived late for the group fantastic breakfast at the Happy Cooker in Georgetown. The Happy Cooker is a great little restaurant with down home cooking and friendly service. Lots of coffee too. Off to Georgetown Lake which they promised was frozen at least 6 feet thick. It was snowing and blowing already!  We were trying to see how long the auger bits the ice fishermen were using in order to verify the ice thickness. Regardless, it was a little scary when you’re driving a 4,696 lb. BMW X5 with street tires on a lake. More worrisome was the official timer car, sitting in one place all day with the engine running to keep warm. Clearly where he was sitting had the shine of melting ice under the vehicle!

About 45 cars of all makes and models lined up to starting line and slid around the course. Everything from pickup trucks to Porsches (911s, Cayennes & Boxsters), Volvos, Mazda Miata, Jeep, Hondas, and Volkswagons!  Some with snow tires, some studded, some plain ‘ole summer tires.

This was one of the best driving experiences learning how your vehicle will handle in ice conditions. One run I make with the stability control on and one run made with the stability control off. What a difference in handling! Clearly the brain of most car’s Traction Control systems are pretty smart! The ABS anti-lock brakes worked beautifully as long as you kept your foot hard on the brake and felt, and heard, the vibrating of the braking system. However, it still took a very long distance to stop my car on the ice. You’d just keep sliding and sliding what seemed a long time until safely stopping.

The best part of the day was actually spinning my car out since I’d never spun a car before! Then recovering control… or not. Great driving practice under safe controlled conditions!

Lessons learned:
  • Studded snow tires are superior on ice, then are snow tires and the worst performing are summer street tires.
  • Dynamic Stability Control is for real.
  • It takes a whole lot longer to stop on ice than I would have ever believed!
  • Drive safe and slow on our Colorado winter roads.
  • You won’t win any awards, but you will get where you are going, not in the hospital or worse!
  • Next year I’ll have studded tires on my car for sure!
Great day spent with serious, fun drivers!  Beer-thirty at Beau-Jo’s was a hoot, and the fish stories of Georgetown Lake that day… well, you had to be there!

Click here to see the timed results from the 2011 Eiskhana event.
Written By Perry & Co. Denver Realtor Sunny Henderson.

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One Response to “Eiskhana 2011 On Georgetown Lake Presented By The Porsche Club Of America Rocky Mountain Region”

  1. 1 William Noroski

    Hi, Enjoyed your article (ie driving on the ice). Keep up the good work.
    My grandson and his father, my son-in-law were among the hearty souls out there with you that day. His car is featured among the photos in the write-up. They had a great time. At BeauJo’s too. They had to tell me all about it. It is a great experience, beneficial too, in being able to better understand and handle your car on the ice.

    I’ve owned Porsches for almost 50 years. We drive on frozen lakes back here in central New York, too. But, it’s too cold to do that anymore. I’ll leave it to the youngsters . But, OH MY, The FUN and the memories. As I said – It is a GREAT experience.

    I wanna hear more. Bill Noroski, Member PCA , 45 yrs.

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