Why Tommy Moe Calls Wyoming Home
The Olympic champion and all-around skiing icon could’ve settled down at any old ski resort. Here’s why he chose Jackson Hole.
When you ask someone about the place they live, it’s not all that common for them to light up with joy. They’ll say things like, “It’s nice, but…” Or, “I like it here, except for...”
Tommy Moe smiles while filming with Warren Miller Entertainment at Jackson Hole.
When you talk to Tommy Moe about living in Wyoming, there are no “buts.” There are no “excepts.” There’s just pure, honest gratitude and an endless list of reasons that he’ll never, ever leave.
“I first came to Jackson Hole when I was younger for some junior races with a friend of mine,” Moe explains. “His dad was on the ski patrol and showed us around the resort, and I was totally blown away by how cool it was. Then, I came back a few times to race at nearby Snow King in town, and I just loved it.”
At that time, Moe was living up in Montana. Whitefish was his home hill and he was quickly making a name for himself throughout the American West—bashing gates and winning races like clockwork. As a teenager, he moved up to Alaska to live with father, where Alyeska became his new training ground. By age 16, he was invited onto the U.S. Ski Team, which came with the opportunity to travel the globe and race with the best of the best on the most challenging terrain imaginable.
Moe gets deep.
The highlight of it all was undoubtedly the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway; Moe won a gold in the Downhill event, then a silver in the Super G, on his 24th birthday, making him one of the most accomplished American ski racers of all time.
With two shiny medals hanging from his neck and some cash in hand, Moe moved to Wyoming, the place that had enchanted him many years prior. He started working for Jackson Hole as a ski ambassador and continued racing for the U.S. team through 1998. In 2001, he blew his knee out during a photo shoot and, with plenty of time on his hands, bought a parcel of land in the town of Wilson. There, he built a home and fortunately did so with future in mind, because he still lives there today with his wife, Megan, and two daughters, Taylor and Taren.
"When I moved here, I did it right."
“I remember taking my dad out there back then and he was just like, ‘I don’t know, there’s nothing out here.’ Now, it’s clear that I made a good decision. I’m out of the hustle and bustle of downtown Jackson but have such easy access to everything I want. There’s also easy access to excellent mountain biking, and I live like a half-mile from the Snake River so I can fish and raft anytime. I’m really just more of an outdoor person; I never got the itch to live in a city or anything. When I moved here, I did it right.”
All these years later, Moe still happily works for Jackson Hole, mainly alpine guiding and taking guests through Jackson Hole’s esteemed side country. To this day, the resort—its layout, its terrain—still completely blows him away.
“The coolest thing about this ski area is the continuous vertical,” he says. “Growing up skiing at Whitefish was absolutely amazing, but the only downfall was you’d have to take traverses to get back to the base area. Here, you get into the fall line, keep looking down the slope, and just keep going and going until your legs burn up. Some people come here and get their asses kicked, but the mountain has also done a good job of softening the edges here and there to try and make it fun for everyone.”
Last season in particular was absolutely historic for Jackson Hole; 593 inches (49+ feet) fell on the resort and, as Moe says, “It just. Kept. Snowing.” In other words, it was the perfect winter for the Warren Miller crew to pay Moe a visit and film some classic Wyoming powder skiing. Also on the shoot was an A-list crew including Griffin Post, Jess McMillan, Rob Kingwill, and, last but not least, Moe’s daughters.
Moe follows his daughters up a chairlift at Jackson Hole.
“We just had unbelievable conditions for the shoot,” Moe recounts. “It snowed pretty much everyday and we had the legendary filmer, Tom Day, here. There was a lot of work involved—hiking around to make it happen—but I think we got everything we wanted. It turned out really good.”
A guy like Tommy Moe could’ve picked any old ski town to call home. When you’re an Olympic champion and all-around American skiing star, mountain communities will naturally embrace you with open arms. But the fact that he picked this particular area in Wyoming isn’t surprising. It’s a place where people treat the mountains like they’re cathedrals and seek happiness everywhere they look. No “buts.” And no “excepts.”