Teton Gravity Research

Teton Gravity Research's downtown Bozeman theater and retail store opened on July 2, 2020. 

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A Jackson Hole-based extreme sports media and retail company has opened its first Montana store in downtown Bozeman.

Teton Gravity Research, founded by brothers Steve and Todd Jones in Jackson Hole in the mid 90s, had its official grand opening on July 2 at 9 E. Main St. The store sells TGR-branded gear for skiing and snowboarding and features a small theater where TGR films are screened.

“We’ve got everything under the sun that you can think of,” said the store’s general manager Tommy Rupp, who helped put on TGR film premieres in Bozeman for several years prior to the store opening. “We’ve got the theater in there to show the 50 movies (filmed by TGR) over the course of the last 20 years.”

Steve Jones said opening a Bozeman store has been a goal for a long time. He and his brother have skied in the area for decades, and he and his wife got married in Belgrade.

“We just love it,” he said. “In many ways, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska collectively, where we were commercial fishing and skiing in the early 90s, those three states were really the inspiration for Teton Gravity Research and the lifestyle and everything. It’s very naturally in the blood, in the fabric of TGR.”

The company has shown films in Bozeman for about 15 years at the Emerson Center, and Jones said those showings were always some of the best attended for the company.

“I personally try to make that premiere whenever I can because it’s so high energy,” Jones said. “It’s on par with Jackson Hole in terms of energy and the stoke and the cheering and selling out multiple shows, things like that, so it’s always been a place that we love.”

The Jones brothers, including their younger brother Jeremy, were all skiing semi-professionally in the early 90s. The brothers started TGR after filming with famous ski film director Warren Miller.

“We love Warren Miller, and he was a pioneer and he was the inspiration for it all,” Jones said.

But after filming with Miller, he said, they realized they wanted to do it for themselves.

So, in 1995, the brothers pooled the money they made from commercial fishing in Alaska to buy a 16mm camera and taught themselves how to use it. That camera was what the first Teton Gravity Research films were filmed on.

“The entry level for getting into filming at that time was really expensive,” Jones said. “A three minute roll of film was a hundred bucks ... and we would shoot 80 to 100 hours of film a year to come up with one 60 minute film.”

Jones said that the Bozeman store will rent out the theater for private screenings and, once it’s safe to have shared equipment in a public area, will have a virtual reality station for customers to check out.

Rupp said the store has several procedures in place to keep staff and customers safe while checking out gear and movies. The staff wears masks at all times, and while customers aren’t required to do so, Rupp said it’s “heavily requested.”

There’s hand sanitizer at the door and at the register for anyone who needs it, and any merchandise that customers touch is pulled from the floor, steamed to sanitize, and left to sit for at least 24 hours before being returned to the racks.

The theater, which normally seats 12 people, has reduced capacity to allow more space between attendees.

“The staff is obviously doing the same procedures that most of the community is doing right now,” Rupp said.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Jeremy Jones. Jeremy is Steve and Todd's younger brother. 

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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