F.A.T. Ice Race Delivers Big Slides, Big Smiles to the Rockies

Cameron Neveu

Low sun flickers through straight rows of evergreen firs. In the air there is a song of rustling branches and snow crunching under the weight of winter boots. The Rocky Mountains look painted on the horizon in pale whites, blues, and browns. The whole scene is a Bob Ross piece come to life.

A race car slices through the canvas, sliding, snorting, shifting. Hold on to your brushes, Colorado, we’re going ice racing.

Aspen FAT Ice Race
Cameron Neveu

Earlier this month, a bunch of people who like cars and don’t mind the cold gathered for the F.A.T. International ice race in Aspen, Colorado. Fans and racers were greeted by an invitation-only car roster that contained everything from the Le Mans-winning Porsche GT1 to a Meyers Manx dune buggy. And the competitors were equally eclectic, with stunt drivers, road racers, circle trackers, influencers, engineers, and even Hagerty’s very own YouTube video host of The Driver’s Seat, Henry Catchpole, charging out onto the snow.

The temporary track, which was constructed along with a paddock and clubhouse on a sprawling tree farm, was a technical series of twists and turns with plenty of opportunities to get sideways. For three days, drivers tackled the slippery snow-ice surface, sending clouds of the white stuff sky-high.

The festival, held just outside of America’s winter-skiing mecca, was the first of its kind in the United States. The affair has plenty of history overseas. Its roots harken all the way back to 1952, in Zell Am See, Austria, where several skiers tethered themselves to the back of motorcycles and raced around a frozen lake. This sport, called skijoring (look it up later on YouTube), marked the beginning of Porsche’s ice-capades.

Zell Am See is a winter sports utopia in the Austrian Alps and served as the location of Porsche’s family estate. The first ice race was held to honor Ferdinand Porsche, who was laid to rest in the town a year earlier.

After the first go in 1952, Austria’s frozen speed fest became an annual tradition, and for over two decades, glove-wearing thrill-seekers gathered to compete on the frozen surface of Lake Zell. Then, in 1974, the event was canceled after a snow plow fell through the ice and its driver drowned. Zell Am See’s ice racing scene went dark for over four decades.

In 2019, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Ferdi, championed the event’s revival. Along with college friend Vinzenz Greger, Ferdi brought the ice race back to life.

“We studied together at the University of Vienna and wondered why only a few young people of our generation are as interested in motorsport as we both are,” Ferdi said in a Porsche press release. “One day, when we were skiing in Zell am See, we noticed the studded tires on my father’s Porsche 550. I knew a little about the events that had taken place there many years ago—but unfortunately far too little. It was incomprehensible to me that ice racing had not taken place for many years.”

Aspen FAT Ice Race
Cameron Neveu

The two joined forces, with former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck and ex-Porsche factory driver Richard Lietz also on board to launch the rebirth.

The first three years of the GP Ice Race, as it was initially called, were a hit. However, the ensuing events were delayed due to the pandemic. By the beginning of 2024, Ferdi and friends had reloaded and rebranded: GP Ice Race became F.A.T. Ice Race.

Aspen FAT Ice Race
Cameron Neveu

Motorsport history buffs might recognize the brand as a sponsor that adorned the side of Porsche’s fiercest race cars. Hello, 962! Back then F.A.T. was a German logistics company. Now, F.A.T. International is a projects and events company, co-founded by Ferdi.

“The name F.A.T. International caught our eye,” said Ferdi, who was searching for a name to reestablish the event. “The brand wasn’t there anymore so the intellectual property was up for grabs. We felt that it was the perfect roof brand for the whole event going forward. And because it said ‘international’, we decided to go beyond Austria.”

First stop: America. Aspen, Colorado, specifically.

In its first year, the Aspen ice race brought the heat. “If you ain’t sliding, we ain’t providing,” said Ferdi. Indeed, the on-track action was awesome, and set against Colorado’s scenic backdrop, it was a photographer’s day dream.

Mobil 1, Chevrolet, VW, Ford, and obviously Porsche got in on the fun. The result was a group of cars that looked more like a Gran Turismo selection screen than a race paddock: a Baja-suited Land Rover, a Mercedes Gullwing, two Ford RS2000s, and a school of safari-style 911s, just to name a few.

“The amount of amazing race cars and road cars that were brought in was something to drool over,” said Ryan Tuerck, who supplied two rides for the exhibition: a V-10-powered Supra and a 1966 Toyota Stout drift truck. “The Toyota Stout, being a proper drift car with a lot of steering angle, really allowed me to throw it around and not worry about hitting an icy spot which would normally spin you out.”

Aspen FAT Ice Race
Cameron Neveu

Most of the runs were timed, though fast laps were probably the last thing on everyone’s mind (aside from Tanner Foust who laid down an absolute heater in a stock VW Golf R). “It’s not so much about like split seconds or being the fastest,” says Ferdi. “It’s more about enjoying the time together, sitting in the sun, having a beer after discussing cars.”

Drivers swapped notes and cars, creating some uncommon pairings along the way. Stéphane Ortelli, the French driver who won Le Mans in the GT1-98 R that was supplied for the event, hopped in a Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car, and Henry Catchpole borrowed the “keys” to Tuerck’s drift truck.

The final two days ended with an awards ceremony and, of course, an electronic dance DJ set. “The car is the centerpiece, what brings us all together, but in the end the people bring the party,” said Ferdi. Consider it brought.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s slippery festivities.


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    I use to have 67 Toyota Stout pickup. Very cool 4 speed on the column, great vehicle but rode like it had no rear suspension but it did ride great with 800 lbs or more in the bed

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