Maserati Win­ter Tour

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Automobile - - Drives -

THERE ARE NO BAD MEALS AND VERY FEW QUICK ONES IN ITALY ... SIGN UP FOR NEXT YEAR’S VER­SION OF THE

WIN­TER TOUR.

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

Cervinia, Italy

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