It goes without saying that Warren Miller movies and ski season go hand-in-hand. For my family that means that every Saturday and Sunday between now and mid-April, we follow a routine: At 7 a.m., just after sliding cinnamon rolls into the oven, we turn on a Warren Miller movie, crank up the volume, and get pumped for the adventure ahead.
That routine pales in comparison to appearing in the films themselves, something Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe has done several times over—including in “Line of Descent,” the latest film, which premiers at the Paramount Theatre tonight. Moe is flying in from his hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to catch the flick and watch the work of cinematographer Tom Day, who captured Moe, Jess McMillan, and other riders charging down Jackson Hole’s fearsome terrain. “‘Line of Descent’ refers to skiing down a run but there’s also a family correlation,” Moe says as he explains that he and his wife’s daughters Taylor (9) and Taren (7) also appear in the film. The girls have skiing in their genes—and not just from their dad. Moe’s wife is Megan Gerety, who was an Olympic downhill racer in the age of Picabo Street.
But it’s not just the Warren Miller film that have people talking about Moe, it’s also the Winter Olympics coming up in PyeongChang, South Korea, in February. In 1994, in Lillehammer, Norway, Moe was the first American to win two medals in a single Olympic games: he won gold in Downhill and silver in Super G. He remains the last American to win won gold in the Downhill.
As you might imagine, Moe will be watching the games closely. “There’s the mystique of Olympic downhillers—it’s a roll the dice prospect,” he says. He’s putting his money on Utah skier Steven Nyman (“last year he was on the podium and he won three or four World Cup Downwhills”) and Travis Ganong from Squaw Valley (“he’s a dark horse, kind of like I was.”). Rather than attending the games, as Moe has sometimes done in the past, he’ll enjoy the view from the comfort of home
Moe still skis 120 days a year, and splits his time between Jackson Hole and Alaska, where he co-owns Tordillo Mountain Lodge, a five-star heli-ski operation with access to 1.2 million acres of ski terrain. He says there are many similarities between skiing in the Tetons and skiing in the Tordillos. “There’s a lot of granite and high-alpine terrain, it’s super exposed, and we get a lot of snow,” Moe says. Guests come for a week and, in the winter, heli-ski, snow bike, snowshoe, and otherwise explore the pristine landscape. The lodge has a summer season too with fishing, rafting, and most recently, heli-biking, where a helicopter delivers a lucky few to the top of ridges for unparalleled rides.
If this all sounds downright dreamy, the Warren Miller crew must think so too: Footage of Tordillo Mountain Lodge’s adventures—with Moe again skiing his heart out—will appear in next year’s film.