The Ford Cortina was named after a place called Cortina’d'Ampezzo in northern Italy. The town is in the Dolomites (wasn’t there also a car called the Dolomite many years ago?)
In 1964, Ford Motor Company were enjoying huge success in many forms of motorsport, particularly with the Cortina. Eric Jackson had won the British Rally Championship (and of course had used a Cortina the previous year when he broke the London to Cape Town record), Henry Taylor was the British Touring Car champion and Vic Elford had won the Monte Carlo Rally – all these successes in Cortinas. Also present were John Whitmore, Jack Sears, David Seigle-Morris, Colin Chapman, Peter Hughes (Africa), Bo Lungfelt (Sweden) and Harry Firth (Australia).
Watler Hayes, ever on the lookout for publicity-worthy stunts, had the idea of successful racing drivers and rally men to Cortina d’Ampezzo; calling the event ‘Salute to Champions”.
There were several events for the drivers, including the now-famous drives around the bobsleigh run. Jim Clark was amongst then and history tells that he strained his back during a snowball fight. This led to Jackie Stewart taking his place, thus starting his F1 career. I wonder if that was the same snowball fight as the one pictured here? See video below: