Pittsford Gold Medalist Chris Lillis returns to Bristol Mountain ahead of US Nationals on Sunday

SOUTH BRISTOL, N.Y. (WHEC) — Fresh off of an Olympic run in Beijing, Pittsford’s own Chris Lillis went back to where it all began.

"My training for the Olympics in my you know, kind of US ski team and Olympic journey started right here at Bristol Mountain," Lillis said.

After a memorable two weeks at the Games, he returns home as a champion and is now a role model to kids who are in the position he once was.

"He never went to the Olympics, and now he’s gone to the Olympics so now I’ve met an Olympic gold medalist," Bristol Skier Teddy Kula said. "Pretty cool. It means that it’s definitely accomplishable."

The meet and greet was only the opening act. After that, he hit the slopes to train ahead of this year’s freestyles aerials U.S. National Championships at Bristol Mountain, an event he won last year.

"Kind of a building block competition where we’re hosting U.S. National Championships," Lillis said. "Not an insignificant competition. I hope to be a U.S. national champion this year after this week."

While he’s here to ski, he also understands the value of giving back.

"Just a whole lot of fun for me," he said. "It’s a whole lot of fun for me to come back, be around the kids. You know, I got a little bit of hardware. I get to show off and then, you know, share some experiences and just, you know, give a little bit back to that excitement that I get. You know, every day that I’m out there training."

"He really enjoys being with the kids and just seeing, you know, all the kids with their asking to sign their helmets and their skis and their different things," said Chris’s mother, Jamie. "And everything. And he’s all about it, man. Pay it forward."

"He’s been smiles ear to ear," his father Bernie added. "And, you know, it’s been great to have him back and just really happy for him."