Maserati Winter Tour
THERE ARE NO BAD MEALS AND VERY FEW QUICK ONES IN ITALY ... SIGN UP FOR NEXT YEAR’S VERSION OF THE
ASK FOR FILIPPO
when you get to Maserati’s Ice Proving Ground in Cervinia, about 55 miles from the ski resort town of Courmayeur, Italy. He’ll let you turn off the traction and stability control, all the better to slide one of the two Maserati Levantes around this tight track in the Aosta Valley, just on the other side of the Swiss border from Zermatt.
Free rein lets you handle the studded Pirelli Scorpion-shod Levante around the snowy 0.56-mile track like a semipro rally driver, taking care not to slam the SUV into the tall snowbanks into which the track is carved or into the other Levante at the figure eight-ish’s convergence, as that other vehicle on the track might be lapping slower with all its nannies on if Filippo is not its driver’s minder. At least, that was the case when we rallied ’round the circuit.
Few Maserati owners and enthusiasts on the company’s 2017-18 Winter Tour slid the automaker’s cars much at all during the Tour, which had finished up when auto journalists were let loose to do their worst. The Tour took a small fleet of Maserati Levantes, Quattroportes, and Ghiblis to Courmayeur and Ortisei in Italy; Gstaad, Crans-Montana, and St. Moritz in Switzerland; Saalfelden, Austria; and Baqueira, Spain. Appropriate for the brand, the St. Moritz Winter Drive coincided with the Snow Polo World Cup, which as its name suggests involves polo ponies on snow.
Indeed, not all winter driving programs need be about wicked drifts and slides. We never took the Quattroporte or Ghibli on the Ice Proving Ground but instead drove on narrow, twisty mountain roads outside of Courmayeur, with a coffee break in the charming mountaintop town of Castello and a stop in a medieval village to see the castle Fort di Bard and eat a lavish lunch that lasted nearly as long as the drive before heading back down toward Courmayeur. There are no bad meals and very few quick ones in Italy. To experience it for yourself, sign up for next year’s version of the Winter Tour. — Todd Lassa