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"I've had a great time in my career, travelled the world... "

"I really like Chamonix, France and the southern Alps, as far as the skiing is concerned, because it's pretty much off-piste..."

"They definitely have their work cut out for them, but as far Americans go, we always seem to come through at big events..."

"You've got to be hungry and want to win. We're not a European country as far as our depth is concerned..."

"Now I don't really need to worry about going to the gym every day and sticking to my adrenaline program..."

"Yeah, I like the Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones, Offspring... it doesn't really matter just as long as it's good..."

It's Time for Moe
Tommy Moe
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The US Ski Team lost a champion this year. Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe announced in June he was retiring from the team after 12 years on the World Cup circuit. What's ahead for an accomplished athlete retired at the ripe young age of 28?

In a thrilling performance in Lillehammer in '94, Moe won Olympic gold in the downhill; not finished, he went for more, winning a silver medal in the super-G on his birthday four days later. With this impressive feat, Moe cemented his place in history, becoming the first US alpine skier to win two medals in the same Olympics.

Going for speed
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After also winning the World Cup downhill in Whistler, BC, Moe was at the peak of his career that year, and became an American idol, adored as much as downhill champion Phil Mahre had been in the mid-'80s.

Moe leaves the spotlight though on his own terms, without sadness or regret, but seeing his illustrious career thus far as a milestone in his life.

"I've had a great time in my career," said Moe in an exclusive Mountain Zone interview. "I traveled the world and did well at the Olympics, won a World Cup and now I've got a lot more time to pursue other interests."

With free time he hasn't had in 12 years, Moe looks forward to pursuing new fields of interest and, for the first time in a long time, being able to plan his own time.

"It's kind of cool for me now to just take a break from the rigors of skiing because you have to be so committed year-round," said Moe. "Now I don't really need to worry about going to the gym every day and sticking to my adrenaline program, so it's kind of nice."

Fishing in the Tetons
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Now that Moe will have the time, he plans to explore. An outdoorsman at heart, he says the mountains have always been a big part of his life: from the northern Rockies in Montana where he spent his early years racing at Big Mountain (and his father was ski patrol) to Girdwood, Alaska, where Moe attended Glacier Creek Ski Academy as a teenager. No longer just a pit stop, after so many years of travelling the world with the ski team, Moe is now truly "at home" in the Rockies and the Chugach.

Highly skilled at reading the rivers of Alaska, Moe co-owns Class V Whitewater, a rafting and kayaking guide service. And let's not ignore those prominent peaks in the backcountry around Girdwood where he also co-owns Chugach Powder Guides, a heli-skiing operation nestled in the Camelot of the big fat deep.

Also spending time in Jackson Hole, WY, Moe skis the steeps of the Tetons in the winter and kayaks the runoff in the Snake River in summer. Still a celebrity, Moe is a ski ambassador at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

"I'm going to be doing some all-mountain camps [in Jackson Hole] next season and I'm going to stay really busy and remain in the ski industry — just kind of taking a step back from being in the gate all the time," he said.

After seeing the world over the tips of two planks, Moe was asked for his "favorites" ski list.

"I've got a lot of favorites," he said. "I really like Chamonix, France and the southern Alps as far as the skiing is concerned because it's pretty much off-piste. You can go anywhere you want. I do a lot of heli-skiing in Alaska and here in Jackson Hole. Basically anywhere there's good snow and plenty of steeps, I'm pretty happy."

Now ready to "settle," Moe is planning to build a home in Jackson and from there, who knows. "I'm just going to have time for different trips," he said. "Some of my buddies in Sun Valley invited me to go to India on a kayak/trekking-oriented expedition this fall. Then also I have interest in doing some hunting in Alaska... and fishing."

But ski racing will still be a part of the program and although there will be no more Hahnenkamms for Moe, he and former US Ski teammate AJ Kitt will race together in a pro tour as Team USA on the King of the Mountain circuit this year. Moe and Kitt announced their retirement together earlier this summer.

Moe certainly hasn't given up on the team he has left behind and is optimistic Americans will once again make a showing in World Cup ski racing. Right now, Europeans are the only ones doing well in the World Cup, with Austrian men and German women taking the top-three spots in overall standings. What does Moe see for the upcoming ski racing season?

"It depends," he said. "I think Kristina Koznick was pretty strong this year. She got second in the slalom standings. I think basically for the whole US Ski Team it kind of comes and goes in cycles. In the '80s it was Steve and Phil [Mahre], then we kind of had a little dry spell and then in the '90s it was Picabo, AJ, Kyle, and myself... Hilary Lindh. So, it just kind of depends on the talent that comes through the pipeline and hopefully that will continue to happen."

Last season Moe was 72nd in the overall World Cup and 35th in the downhill standings. But as Moe himself said, Americans always seem to come through at big events. In the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, he stepped up and finished a respectable 8th in the super-G and 12th in the downhill — no medal, but ahead of many formidable European competitors.

With this turnover of Olympians from the US Ski Team (Matt Grosjean joined Moe and Kitt in retirement this year), and Picabo Street healing from her post-Nagano crash, the baton is being passed to the new generation.

"It's just, you've got to be hungry and want to win," Moe said. "We're not a European country as far as our depth is concerned. Hopefully everybody will step up to the plate and point 'em downhill."

Moe doesn't have to worry about it, though, as for him it's all downriver this summer and then all freeskiing and filming for this coming winter. He has a segment in the upcoming Teton Gravity Research film, "Uprising," and his sponsors are sure to keep him busy.

Happy Trails Tommy.

— Michelle Quigley, Mountain Zone Staff

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