By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Summer X Games are underway at U.S. Bank Stadium, but it’s not just the athletes who are giving it their all this weekend.

Fans also have the chance to see what they’re capable of.

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“This is a wind tunnel,” Bryse Yonts, of Fruit of the Loom, said. “It is 55 feet long and it has winds that get up to 65 miles per hour.”

Operated by a 100 horsepower motor, Fruit of the Loom’s wind tunnel is designed to blow you away — it was once used in the movie Twister. They hook you up with a harness, a parachute, elbow and knee pads.

“Staying low helps,” said Dan Luker, who went in the tunnel outside the stadium. “I couldn’t imagine if you tried jumping. You would probably get sent to outer space.”

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The wind speed is controlled by a man who sits in a booth, out of sight — kind of like the Wizard of Oz. But when he turns up the dial, you can really feel it.

It’s almost like trying to sprint while an invisible hand pushes you back. The goal is to see how far you can run.

“When they cranked it up, I could really feel it,” said Austin Stromberg, another participant. “You have to stay low or it just blows you back.”

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Jamie Bestwick, a BMX biker who won 13 gold medals at last year’s X Games, is going to try it this weekend.

John Lauritsen