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The Truth: Tommy Moe

On racing, the backcountry, and tolerance.
posted: 08/15/2006

IN 1994, TOMMY MOE WON A GOLD MEDAL in the Downhill and a silver in the Super G at the Games in Lillehammer, Norway, becoming the first American man to earn two alpine skiing medals in one Olympics. He was 23 years old. Twelve years later, Moe is an official ambassador at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, part owner of Girdwood, Alaska-based Chugach Adventure Guides, and still one of America's best-known skiers.

I WAS A FREESKIER before I was a racer. I wanted to race because it was the only thing going on in the '70s and '80s.

I'D BEEN TO THE OLYMPICS before, and I got my ass kicked. In Lillehammer, I told myself I was either going to get a medal or I was going to crash.

AFTER BEING CONGRATULATED by Hillary Clinton I went over and talked to David Letterman's mom. She gave me a canned ham.

I HOPE PEOPLE GIVE RACING the respect it deserves, 'cause the best skiing in the world happens on racecourses. Anybody who thinks it's easy should go jump on the course at Kitzbühel.

I SPEND A LOT OF TIME in the backcountry now. More and more every year, I find myself skiing out-of-bounds because there are fewer people. I like just being out in the mountains with a couple of friends.

MY BEST POWDER-SKIING DAY EVER was April 15, 1998. It snowed three and a half feet. We landed the helicopter in the Chugach and skied eight runs of waist-deep. But each year I have a lot of best days. I'm not really picky.

IT'S SAD when you see kids ski in the terrain park all day. They're missing out on being well-rounded skiers.

BODE'S GONNA PASS UP PHIL MAHRE and become the best skier ever. I'm a big fan.

I STILL GET OVER 100-PLUS DAYS A YEAR - good exercise that keeps you honest. I love it. I don't get tired of it.

IT'S IMPORTANT NOT TO BAD-MOUTH ANYBODY. Whether you're a pipe specialist, a racer, or a heli-skiing film star, you just gotta understand that it's the same sport - sliding downhill.

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