NOT NORMAL: A Winter Ride in a MINI Cabrio
As spring ever so slowly begins to take root, most couldn't be blamed for already getting anxious to fire up that barbecue. But there's still one more wintry tale to be told from the road - one that's sure not to disappoint the die-hard MINI fans whose enthusiasm is more than skin deep.
With the mercury hovering several degrees below the freezing point and thick flakes of fresh morning snow silently accumulating on the snaking alpine roads of Laax, Switzerland, many visitors to the mountain were gearing up for another day of snowboarding or skiing on the slopes. A brave crew of MINIacs, however, had another idea of alpine riding in mind...
At the Burton European Open 2013, MINI was on the scene offering free test drives to curious riders as they searched for a seat more exhilarating seat than those offered by creaky, frozen chairlifts. Though each member of the MINI family was parked and ready to rev out the garage doors, a Spice Orange MINI Cabrio had an extra layer of intrigue set against the backdrop of seemingly incompatible alpine weather. But after firing up the heated leather seats and strapping on a pair of snowboard goggles, the crisp mountain air transformed - from a hurdle to an extra-sensory boost to that go karting experience.
Zipping up the mountain, the trees started to disappear and the view from the open top just became more spectacular with each winding turn of the road. Soon the whole valley, in its velvety blanket of powder, was outstretched below while the majestic, ragged peaks of the Swiss Alps pointed stoically towards their chilled, blue sky above. Down along the glacier-fed river, the villages looked like a toy train set and the peaceful silence of the hills began to set in. There's nothing quite like a ride into the wilderness to let your cares fall away.
But while the ambience of the wintry scene was calming, many a MINI fan knows that silence is meant to be broken.
At a large, vacant parking lot with a stunning panoramic view, it turned out that other MINI test drivers were eager to boast their taste for icy exploits. Looking for some extra thrills outside the terrain park, one rider found this Chili Red MINI Countryman to be the perfect accomplice in milking every ounce of adventure that the mountain had to offer. No lift ticket was required for this freestyle session!
And what's a joy ride without a little surprise along the way? It was a given that the dropped top would turn a few heads, but turning animal heads at a local farm pit stop wasn't exactly part of the scheduled itinerary.
Take some MINI Space advice and swerve a bit outside your comfort zone for your next road trip. Life's too short to spend in the slow lane.
To indulge in all the wintry antics MINI has to offer, shred over to our page that covers our ongoing partnership with Burton.
MINI One Cabrio
Fuel consumption combined: 6,6 - 5,7 l/100 km, C02 emission combined: 154 - 133 g/km, more information.
MINI Cooper SD Countryman ALL4
Fuel consumption combined: 6,1 - 4,9 l/100 km, C02 emission combined: 160 - 130 g/km, more information.
Meet Klingatron - a street artist from Glasgow who's discovering a new sense of scale thanks to a recent project with MINI.
The MINI International Vol. 41
We take a leisurely trip through sunny Sydney, from industrial-chic Alexandria to surfer's seventh heaven Bondi Beach.
The MINI International Vol. 41
MINI goes to Hollywood! British-born writer, producer and filmmaker Martin Desmond Roe takes us on a drive through Los Angeles in his new MINI, revealing his favourite spots in the city, and how he went from working at menial jobs on low-budget horror movies to heading up Dirty Robber, his own Oscar-nominated production company.
When it came time to customise her MINI, Rosemile Drewer went above and beyond by giving it a truly personal touch brushstroke by brushstroke. See how she made a little paint go a long way.
200 km north of the Arctic Circle is a frontier only the most adventurous wander to - prime real estate for a MINI Countryman-inspired ice lodge. Check out the Arctic digs here.
Dezeen and MINI spent 2013 travelling to cities around the globe as part of the Dezeen and MINI World Tour. Here's your personal soundtrack to each city that was discovered along the way.