Audi is capitalizing on its decades of expertise in quattro development and converting that into skis rather than four wheels for the first time. The new Audi Carbon Skis benefit from the brand’s latest lightweight construction know-how, and its obsessive design and development process.
The new high-tech skis are currently being developed for ‘series production’, and may become available as early as winter 2011/2012. The experts from Audi Concept Design have kept the structure of the skis simple – an outer shell of high-strength carbon fiber encloses layers of aluminum and titanium, with a wood core.
At 3.4 lb (for a 70” ski), each ski will be around 0.4 lb lighter than comparable models, which makes them incredibly maneuverable and agile.
“Carbon and aluminum are central elements in Audi design – these materials underscore the quality of our cars,” Wolfgang Egger, Head of Design for the Audi Group said. “The design of the ski also intentionally dispenses with unnecessary lines and concentrates on the material.” The advantage of lightweight carbon fiber is it gives outstanding strength, good damping properties and stiffness, while minimizing torsion and revolutionizing the handling properties of the ski. The ski flexes on the mogul slopes to achieve optimal grip on uneven surfaces, but must not twist on icy patches so that the steel edges can maintain their grip on the snow along their entire length. This means that the ski never loses contact with the ground. The reduced weight of the carbon also plays a critical role for slalom skiing.
The first prototypes of the Audi Carbon Ski were tested on the slopes last month during the most famous downhill race in the world – the Hahnenkamm race in Kitzbühel, and are being tested now at the World Ski Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The skis have also been extensively tested by specialists from premium sports equipment manufacturer Head, as well as the German Ski Association to help perfect the design.
“As a long-time partner and sponsor of the German Ski Association, a ski produced by Audi is a logical step. This is how the Audi Carbon Ski concept came about. And the ski’s brilliant handling characteristics have been confirmed by professionals from the sport,” Egger said.