The Ice St. Moritz: what you need to know

Yo VIP, let's kick itIce, ice, babyIce, ice, baby
No, the theme of this article will not be 90s music, much less the wave revival that characterizes those years.
Here we're talking about ice and specifically the frozen lake of St. Moritz, which once again this year is hosting The ICE St. Moritz., the Engadine's most anticipated Concours d'Elegance automobile competition.On Feb. 23 and 24, the lake's ice, usually the site of horse races and Snow Polo matches, will be transformed into an open-air museum where works of art on four wheels from around the world will be the stars.
Friday, Feb. 23, will be devoted to the static exhibition: owners will present and narrate the cars to the public and media while the jury will have the opportunity to analyze the cars.Saturday, Feb. 24, will be devoted to the dynamic part: the centerpiece of the day is in fact the parade on the frozen ground in which the owners will have to challenge each other by finding the right harmony between speed, elegance and movement.
There are four categories in the competition:
  • Barchettas on the Lake, the two-seater racing cars, first renamed by Giovanni Canestrini in reference to the historic Ferrari 166 in 1948.
  • Open wheels, single-seaters from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, designed for track driving and in which mechanical engineering is in perfect symbiosis with beauty of form.
  • Concept Cars & One Offs, unique examples created by visionary minds, or custom-built according to the taste, character and personality of the owner;
  • Icons on Wheels, emblematic cars full of class and timeless appeal.
The 2024 edition will thus follow its classic pattern, established now by the success of a formula that seems to always satisfy classic car enthusiasts (and others).Every year the festival becomes a reason to come together and enjoy an alternative experience in the winter season: for a weekend, the Engadine location is transformed into an open-air playground to the delight of collectors, car, design and lifestyle enthusiasts.
But where did the idea of displaying wonderful cars in a breathtaking location come from?ICE was conceived in the mid-1980s and has its roots in the timeless symbiosis between St. Moritz and the winter magic of its frozen lake.Nature, exclusivity, sport, luxury, fun and excitement: all the most characteristic elements of the Swiss location's atmosphere found embodiment over a century ago in one of the most iconic events on the St. Moritz calendar, the Cresta Run skeleton race.To mark the centenary of the sporting event, in January 1985, a group of British members of the competition, led by Scotsman Keith Schellenberg, celebrated the event by driving some cars, their vintage Bentley tourers, on the frozen lake for the first time.For famous automotive brand manager Marco Makaus, who was present on that distant January day, witnessing the scene is a revelation.The image of those iconic vehicles standing out with their colorful liveries against the backdrop of the white expanse, the contrast between the winter weather and the "summer" lines of the uncovered cars, the contrast between the dynamism of the engines and the stillness of the glacial forms: all this ignites his imagination.
What was at first just a vision becomes a goal: for decades local and international authorities discuss the possibility of turning Makaus's idea into reality.
Winter 2019 is the test case for a demonstration edition of ICE St. Moritz.
The formula already possesses, in an abbreviated version, the characteristics that would characterize subsequent editions.After two years of waiting due to Covid, the first official edition finally takes place in February 2022. The response in terms of turnout, media resonance and participant satisfaction is the best proof that even ice can burn when warmed by genuine passion.
And that is what will continue to happen from now on, year after year.
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