Members of the Austrian Ski Association, including Olympic silver medalist Nicole Hosp, pictured, recently visited Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, to use the company’s wind tunnel to fine-tune their wind-cheating techniques in preparation for the upcoming season.
Audi’s “Windkanal” can simulate speeds of up to 186 mph, thanks to its 2.6-megawatt turbine. Athletes like testing there because it’s a relatively quiet environment—according to Audi, when the wind is blowing at 99 mph, noise levels are shockingly only 60 decibels, approximately the intensity of a normal conversation.
The Austrian skiers (including Rainer Schönfelder [middle], the bronze medal winner in Turin and Super-G World Cup winner Hannes Reichelt [bottom]) won’t have any sort of distinct advantage over the competition, however, since rivals from Sweden, Finland, France, Liechtenstein, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States also have used Audi’s Windkanal.
Personally, though, I’d like to see Audi’s wind tunnel used to answer age-old questions like:
--How fast can I drive X convertible before my baseball cap flies off? And what if I turn the hat around backward? --How fast does the wind have to be blowing to actually knock me over? How fast for my six-year-old cousin? And how fast for my 300-pound lineback neighbor?
These are the important questions that need, uh, immediate answers …