The Transformation of TGR

Teton Gravity Research wants to become more than a yearly ski film and a gear dork’s forum. TGR co-founder Steve Jones told us how they’re trying to change without sacrificing their core.
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TGR One for the Road

On the eve of the release of their 2011 film, “One For the Road,” Teton Gravity Research is poised to do bigger things. They’re expanding their clothing offerings and their commercial department (perhaps you’ve seen some recent North Face ads?), and they’ve just hired a pr company to help promote themselves. But why does a media company need a media company? And what happens when a core company starts to turn commercial? Steve Jones told us how they’re trying to go big without selling out.

Why now?
We felt like we had enough new things going on that we’re poised to take it to the next level. We’re investing in other areas, like commercials and our website. We’re still not a huge company, but we feel like we’ve reached a point where we want to reach a broader audience. We’ve done really well endemically because of the material we produce and because of our athletes and films. We don’t struggle with that; we struggle with communicating with a mainstream audience.

What does that mean for the film?
The inherent DNA of TGR is going to stay the same and the event is going to look the same. It’s critical; the tour is our most pivotal touch point. This year, the film has a little more of a story line in it. We’ll also have online episodes released every Wednesday.

How has that changed since you started?
The first tour we did outside of Jackson we were psyched if we were doing a 100 people, now we’re doing 1000. It’s become more highly anticipated and livelier; I think it’s become a ritual for some people.

What’s going on with your athletes?
Our relationship with the athletes is different than a lot of other brands. We’re formalizing relationships with athletes like Nick Martini, Sage, Dash Longe, Ian Mac, Dana Flahr, to be TGR ambassadors. We wanted to pick guys who are influential but who are also aggressive in the social media space. Like Martini, from day one he ‘s been a guy who can operate a camera and edit, he’s more than just an athlete. I’m not aware of any other brands doing that.

In your move to become more mainstream is the forum going to change?
We’re not trying to have it be so mainstream that it gets diluted. We feel like that’s a pretty core group of people who are in the know. The back and forth on there is so valid. If there's something of substance it gets a lot of legs and a lot of credibility.

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