Now that Tommy Moe and AJ Kitt have retired from the U.S. Ski Team, chances are their friends might actually see them race. Both plan to compete on the King of the Mountain U.S. pro circuit and they welcome its five hours of national television broadcasts. "You won't have to get up at 3 am to watch the World Cup on ESPN," Kitt says. After more than a decade each on the team, the athletes announced over the summer that they were ready to leave the endless grind of international ski racing. "It was getting tougher to find the competitive fire," Moe explains. With his signature frankness, Kitt rattles off Ski Team shortcomings: inexperienced coaches, poor travel planning and chronic underfunding. "They should sell the team to a guy like Ted Turner and have him run it like a professional sports franchise," the 30-year-old racer says. Kitt gives more than lip; he'll do some coaching with the Ski Team this season. Moe and Kitt have suffered their own problems in the past few seasons, in which neither has come close to stepping onto a World Cup podium. Moe, 28, raced in three Winter Olympics and is the first American male athlete to win two medals in the Winter Games, capturing the downhill gold and the super G silver in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway. Kitt is the only U.S. male alpine racer to compete in four Olympics and earned a bronze downhill medal in the 1993 World Championships.
A winner of five U.S. national championships, Moe doesn't foresee any trouble getting up for pro races. "I could walk away with $22,000 in a weekend," Moe says. "That's motivation."