History

The spark of ice that ignited the engine of passion

When does an idea begin to form? When does the inspiration that subverts patterns, that pushes goals, that brings new parameters into play begin to emerge? Often much earlier than one would think. Time and again, the spark of success has been lit very early and, just as often, it has been ignited by the flash of other, earlier insights.

The I.C.E. was first conceived in the mid-1980s, but its origin is rooted in the timeless symbiosis between St. Moritz and the winter magic of its frozen lake. Nature, exclusivity, sport, luxury, fun and excitement: all the most typical elements of the atmosphere of the famous Swiss town found embodiment, over a century ago, in one of the most iconic events on the St. Moritz calendar, the Cresta Run skeleton race.

To mark the centenary of the sporting event, in January 1985, a group of British members of the competition, led by Scotsman Keith Schellenberg, celebrated the event by driving a few cars, their Vintage Bentley tourers, on the frozen lake for the first time.

For the famous auto-brand manager Marco Makaus, who was present on that distant January day, witnessing that scene was a revelation.  

The image of those iconic vehicles standing out with their colourful liveries against the backdrop of the white expanse, the counterpoint between the winter climate and the summer attitude of the open cars, the contrast between the dynamism of the engines and the stillness of the glacial forms: all this fired his imagination and kindled in him the desire to replicate it, to make it grow on a larger scale. 

What was at first only a vision became a goal, the goal became a project and the project was shared, proposed, discussed. Over interminable decades, local and international authorities discussed the possibility of making Makaus’ idea a reality. First the St. Moritz municipality and Badrutt’s Palace were enthusiastic about it and decided to support it. Then came the partners and sponsors and, with them, the decisive support.

The winter of 2019 was the testing ground for a demonstration edition of The I.C.E. St. Moritz. The formula already contained, in an abbreviated version, the features that would characterise the subsequent editions. After two years of waiting due to Covid, the first official edition finally took place in February 2022. The success in terms of turnout, media resonance and participant satisfaction was the best proof that even ice can burn if it is warmed by genuine passion. And that is what will continue to happen from now on, year after year.