Illustration for article titled The Fifty Shades Of White Hell

Máté and I had a great time at the northernmost winter tire testing center in the world, in February in Finland. The following set of 50 photos serves as a pictorial diary of a nearly one-week trip beyond the arctic circle, where Finland's snow tire makers test the hell out of all kinds of rubber.

[Full disclosure: Nokian wanted to show us what they can do at White Hell so much they flew us to Lapland to their test range, dropped me into deep snow while Máté and his test pilot drove around and around drifting sideways like lunatics. They also served us snow grouse, elk, and reindeer meat for lunch and dinner. The cold was bearable, the food awesome, and the snow just simply breathtakingly beautiful. ]

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Wind built snow dunes along the way to the test center


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Test car one is ready to go


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We tried five different sets of tires per day


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Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 for Jalopnik


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Tired of tires? Try to change them six times a day!


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Petri Paananen and Máté checking the tire


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240 bolts per day


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Test car two


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48 tires lifted per day


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On the thick ice of a frozen Lapland lake, on the first test day


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A quiet pine forest witnesses the ice tests


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'What a friction tire can do nowadays amazed me" - says Máté.


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Máté and Petri doing 70+ on ice


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Steady grip


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This machine clears the track before and after every tested tire


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Another set of tires


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No drifting, ideally


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JA1=Jalopnik


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Toyota Land Cruiser on charger block heater


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Steve Bourassa (product manager), Petri Paananen and Máté evaluating the figures


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Inside the Golf GTI


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The sun sets at half past three, and the night falls upon us at six


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On ice


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Day two: snow testing on flat track


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Doing rally stages with a Quattro Audi


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After an hour the car turned into rolling popsicle


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From the reindeer's point of view


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Petri on the snow handling course


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Every Finn is a rally driver


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Petri leaving snow dust behind


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Common sight


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Day three: on a short but fast hillclimb track


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This view never ceased to amaze me


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A short tactical briefing


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At incredible speeds


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Going sideways


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A bit more testing on ice


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What time is it? Circa three o'clock so let's turn on all the headlights!


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Snow is the enemy of ice tests


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Day four: let's do a few brake tests inside the indoor ice testing facility!


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Nokian built the longest hockey rink ever


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Seems almost endless


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Braking on artificial ice


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On a long stretch of wide straight snow track


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Petri could really start to throw the car around despite the mild blizzard


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No speed limits


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The black GTI dissolved in the snow every time they passed by me


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High noon, our rental car


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Farewell to White Hell


Photos: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo

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