The Daily Telegraph - Mush mush, it’s a Mini Cooper!
January 11, 2014

Before arriving in the village of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland I had images of reindeer-pulled sleighs and husky dogs yelping at speed across the icy terrain. But instead I was greeted with a four-wheel-drive Mini Cooper Countryman – and a track on a frozen lake close to the Icehotel, 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The track adds a speedier dimension to the hotel’s usual offerings of ice-sculpting classes and watching the Northern Lights.

At the ice track, instructors offer tuition in car control, no mean feat on this surface even in an agile vehicle with spiked tyres. After a half-hour briefing, there are exercises at defined speeds weaving around cones, as well as drifting in both directions, and looping around in figures-of-eight. Drivers finish with a 2km rally section on snowy terrain through woodland.

This year the Icehotel also has a playful Mini-themed ice suite with attached sauna. Designed in collaboration with the auto manufacturer, there are abstract etchings on the walls showing the car’s evolution, as well as goofy animal ice sculptures.

All the pop-up art suites are one-season-wonders, which are as much frozen art exhibits as subzero accommodation. At the otherworldly ice bar there is also a balcony for viewing the Aurora Borealis; this year is slated to be some of the best Northern Lights viewing of the decade because of a surge of solar activity.

Michelle Jana Chan travelled with Discover the World (