Decades of Audi expertise gained in developing quattro models that resolutely hold the road even on snow and ice have just been invested in two skis rather than four wheels for the first time. The new Audi Carbon Skis benefit from the brand's very latest lightweight construction know-how, and its famously obsessive design and development process, ensuring that they bring time-honoured Vorsprung durch Technik innovation to the black run.
The new high-tech skis are currently being developed for 'series production', and may become available as early as this coming winter (2011/2012).
The experts from Audi Concept Design have kept the structure of the skis simple - an outer shell of high-strength carbon fibre encloses layers of aluminium and titanium, and a wood core. At 1,550g (for a 170cm ski), each ski will be around 200g lighter than comparable models, which makes them incredibly manoeuvrable and agile.
"Carbon and aluminium are central elements in Audi design - these exclusive materials underscore the outstanding 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 fully on the material."
The advantage of lightweight carbon fibre is that it gives outstanding strength, good damping properties and stiffness, while minimising torsion and revolutionising 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 light 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 Kitzbuhel, 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 and 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 consequence. 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.
Audi Ski Collection
As a perfect complement to the new ultra-sophisticated Audi Carbon Skis, the new Audi Ski Collection combines Audi design and style for warmth and performance on the ski slopes. The range of men's and women's ski jackets, trousers, beanie hats and gloves are available to order from Audi Centres now, with prices starting from £32.Published 18 February 2011