Olympic snowboarder and U.P. native Nick Baumgartner stopped by Aspen Ridge School today to talk to the students about following your dreams and the hard work that got him to two Olympic Games.

In a gymnasium full of elementary school students, Baumgartner talked about growing up playing sports, winning the X Games and what it’s like to represent the U.S. on the world stage. The theme of Baumgartner’s message was that hard work and determination pay off.

“It’s kind of cool to come in here and use my story and show them that if they work hard and they do things right, and they really push for something and they set a high goal, it’s possible for them to get it and it doesn’t matter if you’re from a small area, or where you’re from, anything is possible from anywhere and I think that’s what my story shows, and the more people I share that with and help these young kids go out there and achieve their goals and chase their dreams, the better,” Baumgartner said.

Students swarmed Baumgartner after he spoke, asking for photographs and autographed memorabilia. What’s most gratifying for him, however, is seeing the positive effect his role as a model for the kids has.

“The fact that these kids look up to me,” Baumgartner said. “I meet the age requirement of an adult, but I’m not necessarily an adult in their eyes. I’m still a kid; I’m a grown child like they are, having fun and that’s what I want them to do. You get one shot here. You might as well have as much fun as you can and help as many people along the way because that will help you.”

Currently, Baumgartner is preparing for the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He also races trucks and will be in competition at this year’s summer X Games.