I've had the good fortune to take part in several driving courses, including exciting training on a circuit, and I've learned a lot in all of them, but Volkswagen's R Experience Ice is definitely on another level. What a great event the German brand has organised in Sweden!

Indeed it's always special to see how a car behaves on ice, but it's even better to get to grips with the basics in a safe and perfectly organised way, on a frozen lake in the town of Arvidsjau, which, by the way, is literally five minutes from the airport and ten minutes from the hotel. It couldn't be better.  

In the following article, I will try to summarise everything I have experienced in a course that you can do in 2025 for €4,000 (approx. £3,500). I assure you that the course will be sold out. This investment (I refuse to call it an expense) includes flight from Germany, accommodation, course and all meals, plus personalised photos and videos, as well as a diploma. All you need is your ID card and a valid driving licence.  

Gallery: Volkswagen R Experience Ice Course

Braking and slalom

On the first day, already in the afternoon, we had first contact with the cars (the magnificent 320 PS Volkswagen Golf R, with 4Motion traction and studded tyres: 210 each).

The outstanding team of instructors led by ex-driver Matthias Kahle offered us emergency braking at different speeds and a slalom with the ESC stability control switched off to get us used to looking far ahead (you have to think about the next corner), playing with the counter-steering and adjusting to the pace at all times. Great fun!

All this in temperatures of around -10º C and with a truly unique sunset. We are only 50 miles from the Arctic Circle, in a town of only 6,000 inhabitants where several brands have their own circuits (Mercedes-AMG, Continental, BMW...) and you can come across many camouflaged cars in full development phase.

Curso R Experience Ice Volkswagen

The instructors help you to improve

The second day started with a small circuit where we were able to put into practice everything we had learned. There was also the possibility of co-driving with a monitor and see how the student could improve. Without a doubt, knowing how to control a car by means of throttle and steering when the rear end gets out of control is an addictive and really fun exercise. 

The Golf R's fantastic 4Motion all-wheel drive system, with its sporty rear differential that allows you to vary the distribution of mechanical power between the two rear wheels, is worth mentioning here. Despite having to work very hard for a long time, none of the cars suffered from electronic problems. 

Incidentally, the trainers had the Golf R 20th Anniversary, with 333 PS, exclusive equipment (Akrapovich exhausts as standard) and various inscriptions. Not only does it do 0-62 in just 4.6 seconds, but it is also a life insurance on low-grip surfaces. 

Curso R Experience Ice Volkswagen
Curso R Experience Ice Volkswagen

Enjoy the IDs as well.

During the afternoon, the track was extended by a few more kilometres so that I could continue to enjoy the drifting, braking and 'crossovers' with no lap limit. In the event of hitting a slope and filling the front end with snow, it was time to stop in the pits to remove it with rubber sticks and free the radiator. And if things got even more complicated and you got stuck in the snow outside the circuit, Matthias and his Volkswagen Touareg R would return you to the track with a sling (hence the tow hooks you can see on the bumpers of the Golf R). 

At the R Experience Ice, there were also two units from the electric ID family, an ID.3 and an ID.7, both rear-wheel drive, which could be tested in the slalom area with a special preparation, as it was possible to completely disconnect the ESC, which is not permitted as standard in these cars. Without a doubt, the ID.3 is a critical car with low grip, which does not allow the slightest mistake, while the ID.7 is a little more docile thanks to its longer wheelbase. 

A brutal circuit

On the night of the second day, we were pleasantly surprised by a co-driving session led by the instructors, with sections at over 90 mph and some truly spectacular 'crossovers'. In a few minutes adrenaline flowed through every centimetre of my body. In fact, an on-board camera recorded my reactions (what fun I had!) and we all received the video on a handy USB stick. 

The end of the party, already on the third day, was the longest circuit of all, designed by none other than Hermann Tilke, creator of many modern F1 tracks. A track with fast and technical sections that made us enjoy ourselves for two hours. it was a dream finish for everyone and left us with an excellent taste in our mouths before leaving again for home. 

Curso R Experience Ice Volkswagen
Curso R Experience Ice Volkswagen

By the way, I don't want to forget the presence of Luis Moya, ambassador of the Volkswagen Driving Experience courses and double world rally champion together with Carlos Sainz. A fun and friendly person who, without a doubt, was a plus during the three days of our stay in Sweden. "This R Experience Ice is not a course, it is the course. Many people who take it repeat another year and we are the second country in Europe, only behind Germany, in number of participants", he explained. 

I am sure that, after reading all about what you experienced in Sweden, you want to know more about this course, so I invite you to click on this link with the official information about it.

20 Años de Volkswagen Driving Experience

More than 20 years of courses

As Albert García, Volkswagen's Marketing Director, told us, these Driving Experience courses began in 2003 for the brand's sales advisors, so that they could get to know the benefits of their cars. A year later, seeing their potential, they began to be offered to customers. 

After 21 years of events, around 35,000 people have enjoyed these training sessions which, above all, have served to contribute to improving road safety. "Without a doubt, the R Experience Ice is the pinnacle of our courses," he said. 

However, there are many other more affordable options, such as the 4Motion La Pinilla School (between €350 and €400) or the GTI School and R Jarama and Montmeló School (between €200 and €250) or the ID School (between €120 and €170).