It was a monumental day for American Paralympian Tyler Walker, who earned his first ever Olympic medal in PyeongChang, South Korea. The four-time olympian won the silver medal in the men's sitting giant slalom at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

"I don't know how to describe four Paralympics," Walker said. "A whole lifetime of dreaming of this. It's hard to put that down into a single statement. It's unreal."

He was one of five American skiers posting a top-10 finish in this year's giant slalom.

Walker's path to success can be traced backed to Lehigh and mechanical engineering professor Joachim Grenestedt, director of the university's Composites Lab.

Grenestedt, who worked with land speed racers, boats and aircrafts, turned his attention to monoskis when a former student was injured in an accident and lost the use of his legs. An avid skier himself, Grenestedt encouraged the student to try adaptive skiing. While observing him on a monoski for the first time, Grenestedt noticed that a large number of monoskis at the lodge were broken.

“I’d seen a lot of these adaptive skiing programs and it is truly amazing what some people can do," Grenestedt explained. “I believed we could design and manufacture a better sled.”

In 2011, with support from the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), DynAccess was born, an adaptive ski equipment company whose slogan is “Nature has no sidelines.” DynAccess monoskis feature a stiff, strong frame, specially developed suspension geometry and custom-made shock absorbers, among other high-quality elements. Word traveled fast in the small and close-knit community of adaptive skiing.

"The frame moves in a very predictable way,” Walker said. “It’s very light. It’s very strong. A lot of thought went into the frame, and the shock absorber really makes everything work."

(Main photo courtesy Joe Kusumoto Photography)