Olympic gold medalist Nick Baumgartner visits Ski Brule to ride along
IRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) — Olympic gold medalist Nick Baumgartner stopped by his hometown of Iron River on Sunday.
Baumgartner glided down Big Bear Run at Ski Brule in style, American flag and gold medal in hand, followed by a group of skiers and snowboarders all there to celebrate his achievement at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics .
The Iron River Aboriginal and Olympic gold medalist joined hundreds this afternoon on a descent down the hills where he learned to snowboard for the first time. “I’ve been trying to bring this medal home and share it with the community here for 17 years,” Baumgartner said emphatically. “Right here [at] Ski Brûlé is where it all began.
Afterwards, Baumgartner signed autographs, took photos and shared smiles with everyone.
Ski Brule operations manager Jessica Polich says Baumgartner started his snowboarding career at the resort. “Nick started working at Ski Brule when he was 14, so we’ve had the opportunity to see him progress in snowboarding over the years,” she said. “Just an absolutely amazing achievement.”
Baumgartner still lives in Iron River and is an active member of the community. Now, his hometown ski resort is raising funds to help him keep competing.
Ski Brule says Baumgartner still has to pay most of his expenses. “We’re trying to help him be able to train and not worry about money doing all this fundraising,” Polich said.
Baumgartner says he is grateful to everyone who donates. Adding that he competes to inspire others in Upper Michigan to do great things. “I think by going there, I really hope that we can use my story to inspire more stories from UP, northern Wisconsin and the Midwest,” he said.
Baumgartner plans to use all the money raised to fund his travel expenses to Bakuriani, Georgia next January for the 2023 FIS Snowboard World Championships. Baumgartner adds that he hopes to compete in the Winter Olympics in 2026 in Milan, Italy, but he does not yet know if he will. He attributes his success to Ski Brule and all the great people in Upper Michigan.
To donate to Baumgartner’s travel expense fund for next year’s FIS Snowboard Winter Championships, visit the Ski Brule website by clicking here.
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