Paralympic athlete Sean Halsted (right) is an Air Force veteran. He was paralyzed when he fell 40 feet from a helicopter in a 1998 training exercise. In 2001 he began Nordic sit skiing and has been active with the National Paralympic Team competitively since 2006.

The nature of Halsted’s spinal cord injury required a rigid sit ski frame with leg supports, and firm strap attachments to secure him to the frame and allow for ski control.

Advised by assistant professor Mike Czabaj, senior student Mike Stark led the 2017 six-person senior capstone team, which  included James Calder, Nick Miller, Dalton Ostler, Martin Raming, and Zachary Sievert. A seventh student, Austin Bourret, later joined the team to focus on part of the ski’s binding.

The team worked closely with Paralympic team coach John Farra, athlete Sean Halsted and Czabaj in the Utah Composites Lab to design and fabricate a state-of-the-art carbon fiber sitski that met the ski team specifications.

Halsted competed in four events at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, using the student designed and fabricated sitski.


(From the Salt Lake Tribune) Not many senior design projects give University of Utah mechanical engineering students a shot at a real gold medal. But that was one of the inspirational aspects of building a sitski for U.S. Nordic athlete Sean Halsted, a Rathdrum, Idaho, resident who is competing in four events this week at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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