Audi is currently developing new high-tech skis using its latest lightweight construction methods as well as its design and development process. The Audi Carbon Skis are said to bring time-honored Vorsprung durch Technik innovation to the black run. The new high-tech skis are being developed for ‘series production’ and they may start being available as early as this coming winter (2011/2012).
The experts from Audi Concept Design created a simple ski structure: an outer shell of high-strength carbon fiber surrounds layers of aluminum and titanium, and a wood core.
Each 170cm ski will weigh 1,550g, which is about 200g lighter than comparable models, making them agile and very easy to maneuver. Wolfgang Egger, Head of Design for the Audi Group said that carbon and aluminum are central elements in Audi design as these exclusive materials highlight the outstanding quality of its cars.
The ski is also designed to get rid of the unnecessary lines. The added benefits of using lightweight carbon fiber include providing outstanding strength, good damping properties and stiffness, while minimizing torsion and revolutionizing the handling properties of the ski.
When the Audi Carbon Ski concept of 2008/2009 was being developed, Audi benefited from more than two decades of alliance with the German Ski Association as well as its own motorsport experiences.
The criteria that have proven to be reliable for several decades of ski sports were examined using complicated calculation techniques derived from motorsport. This led to construction specs for a full-carbon ski that ensures excellent handling properties. Following comprehensive tests, the German Ski Association’s specialists verified the superior quality of the Audi Carbon Ski concept.
While a ski, in principle, is sophisticated sports equipment, it is also a highly aesthetic object that has been enhanced to deliver top performance. The project at Audi Concept Design Munich in the center of Schwabing district was founded on these considerations. A team of young global designers moved the design gene of Audi from the cars to the ski.
The Audi design uses carbon and aluminum as its fundamental elements and exclusive materials like these give emphasis to the excellent quality of Audi cars, according to Egger. He adds that the ski design forgoes unnecessary lines on purpose and instead, fully focuses on the material.
Audi Motorsport Head Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said that due to the combined strength and light weight of carbon, it is used in motorsport, especially for sensitive components so they can withstand extremely high stress loads while staying light in weight.
As an example, the racing cars for the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) as well as the Le Mans sports cars such as the R18 have a driver’s cockpit known as the monocoque, which is made up of extra-strength carbon fiber.
According to him, the calculation methods used in creating the possible lifesaving carbon component are identical to those used for developing the Audi Carbon Ski Concept. The calculations used for the ski determine exactly the number of layers of carbon that have to be used, after which the carbon fibers are positioned at a particular angle to one another.
This lets engineers get the most favorable stiffness with the least torsion. An artificial vacuum is used to harden layers under pressure. The ski’s influence on the handling properties is ground-breaking. To get the best possible grip on uneven surfaces, the ski needs to flex on the mogul slopes.
However, the ski should not twist on icy patches, to enable the steel edges to maintain their grip on the snow across the whole length. For this reason, the ski does not lose contact with the ground. Carbon’s light weight plays a crucial role when it comes to skiing curves. The ski has a low weight of only 960 grams.