Drive your car fast on a frozen lake.

Quick Stats

  • Location: Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
  • Hours: 24h
  • Cost: Free
  • Length of visit: 1+hour
  • Resources:
Roughly 30 minutes outside Calgary, off the 1A highway is the Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area. The park consists of 11 interconnected water reservoirs that are mostly used for electricity generation but also to assist in flood control for the city of Calgary.
Not surprisingly, being right at the foot of the Canadian Rockies means these lakes freeze up in the winter. If you drive over to what would be a boat launch in the summer, you can drive your car right down onto the lake.
And why would you want to drive on a frozen lake? A couple of guys take the time to clear the snow off the lake to create the largest ice race track in North America. There are 6 different tracks which include 84 slippery turns and nearly 10Km of ice surface race track.
Slap some winter tires on your drift car and start doing laps. With the ice surface you can easily drift around every corner. Many cars would drift a bit too much, spin around and end up in the snowbanks.
Since it is a public lake, anybody can participate. Bring any vehicle you want and try your hand at racing around an ice track.
Absolutely any vehicle! Maybe ask your mom before taking the mini -van. Or just tell her you are going to the mall, your call.
Some cars are perfect for this. All wheel drive Subaru with proper tires seemed to be glued to ice. It was passing everybody.
And if you don’t have a Subaru you can just attach a flag to tell everybody about how you feel politically. Ahhh Alberta, never change.
Practical note here to consider if you want to take your fancy car out for a rip on the ice track…. Read your insurance policy very carefully. Many will have a clause in them that voids coverage if you are using the vehicle in a race or “test of speed”. So in other words, as soon as you drive onto the track, you no longer have insurance coverage.
So with that in mind, I came back on a week day with only one other person at the track. This greatly reduced the chance of having a collision with insurance voided. Lets try this out!!
Unfortunately, I was by myself so no action shots. But it was an absolute riot. Turn off the traction control and drift around all the corners. Even I, a self proclaimed expert driver spun around a couple times with some overly ambitious drifts.
The secret to success on an ice track, studded tires. The white dots on the tires are tungsten carbide metal studs to bite into the slippery smooth ice.
Reminder that you are driving on a frozen lake. That is a rope swing to jump into the water in the summer. You may be wondering then, how thick does the ice need to be to support a car? 8-12” for a car and 15”+ for trucks. There was a guy ice fishing so I asked him how thick the ice was. He was guessing about 24” when I was there.
Since it is a lake, it is very flat. So the traditional Summit Selfie is fair game anywhere. I snap a quick selfie, then head out for a few more laps.


Teditor · January 21, 2024 at 9:37 pm

Suppose that you are not racing, no other cars are around, but your car falls through the ice, does your insurance cover this ? … I suspect not.

    Shawn · March 19, 2024 at 11:19 pm

    I think the terminology insurance companies use is “test of speed” which could cover anything going over 0Km/h I suppose.

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