A new hotel in Teton Village isn’t designed to be just a place to stay, but also to provide guests a chance to experience a very Jackson Hole lifestyle.
By Samantha Simma
BEHEMOTH BLACK DOORS greet guests at Teton Village’s newest property, Continuum—not just a hotel, but, as its website declares, also a “Teton Gravity Research experience.” Here you can relax and sleep in one of eighty-three modern rooms; ogle photos of professional action-sports stars who have appeared in movies Teton Gravity Research (TGR) has produced; and maybe even mingle with some of these athletes in the hotel’s bar. “A lot of hotels are very one dimensional,” says TGR cofounder Steve Jones. “You go in, check into your hotel room.” And that’s it. Jones felt that making TGR a part of the hotel experience could be really special, particularly if the hotel was at the base of TGR’s home ski resort.
If you’re unfamiliar with TGR, here’s a brief history: From a dingy Teton Village office space, the company—initially brothers Steve and Todd Jones along with three friends—reinvented the genre of ski films in the mid and late ’90s, showcasing skiers hitting big backcountry lines instead of shooting tight shots of crisp turns on groomers. Since then, TGR has grown into an action-sports-media juggernaut and accompanying lifestyle brand that has produced more than 40 movies; numerous original television series; and commercials for companies including Apple, The North Face, Jeep, Under Armour, and Energizer; and launched a clothing line. For years, TGR used a hotel near its offices, The Inn at Jackson Hole, as a basecamp for its athletes, sponsors, and friends; and as a place to unwind after a day of hard skiing. The Inn was one of the first hotels built at the base area of the nascent Jackson Hole ski area. It opened in 1968, three years after the resort’s tram started carrying expert skiers from around the world to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. “You could say The Inn has always been TGR’s clubhouse,” Jones says, recalling après-ski sessions at The Inn’s Beaver Dick’s Bar.
“We knew we did not want ‘mountain west,’” says owner Ellie Gibson. Instead, they sought a departure from Jackson’s go-to palette of browns, oranges, and plaids. “I don’t want to walk into a space and feel like I’ve already been there before because I’ve seen it everywhere else.”
Despite TGR using the property for its athletes and friends, by the late ’00s, The Inn was financially struggling and in mild disrepair—a condition highlighted as hotels like the Four Seasons and the country’s first LEED-Gold–certified boutique hotel, Hotel Terra, opened around it. In 2010, while in Jackson Hole on a ski vacation, David and Ellie Gibson heard The Inn was for sale. The couple bought it. Initially they didn’t plan on partnering with TGR or even knew this was something in which the brand was interested. And, while they knew the building needed serious help, they weren’t sure whether it was a remodel or a rebuild. After thinking about it for a while, they came up with a hybrid option: renovate and remodel the guest rooms and build a new lobby and central public spaces.
AVID TRAVELERS, THE Gibsons had ideas for the aesthetic they wanted their property to have. “We knew we did not want ‘mountain west,’” Ellie says. Instead, they sought a departure from Jackson’s go-to palette of browns, oranges, and plaids. “I don’t want to walk into a space and feel like I’ve already been there before because I’ve seen it everywhere else,” Ellie says. After seeing the 39 Degrees restaurant in the Sky Hotel in Aspen (which has since been redeveloped into a W Hotel), they hired the Los Angeles–based boutique design firm Powerstrip Studio to bring their vision to fruition.
It was during the design-and-construction process that the Gibsons heard TGR wanted to bring its brand to a Teton Village property. Steve Jones envisioned a place where guests would be able to interact with TGR athletes and a central location for sports clinics with the personality to make guests feel like they were TGR-film bound. “A modern-day version of our clubhouse with better food, drinks, and a big pool to après-ski in—this was a very natural extension for the TGR brand,” Jones says.
The partnership was a no-brainer for the Gibsons; they recognized the local, national, and international audience TGR would bring. Deciding on a name was a fairly easy decision too: TGR’s first film (released in 1996) was The Continuum. David, who first visited the area as a teenager, says the name “illustrates the clean elegance and sophistication of our target experience.” To bring the branding and name full circle, Powerstrip’s design concept sought to appeal to “the guest who pursues athletic adventure, [and] has an appreciation for style,” says studio co-founder Dayna Lee.
“TGR has rawness, but it’s also known for really cutting-edge, progressive, award-winning cinematography. A lot of the content we put out is really clean and progressive, and Continuum is very much done in that vein.”
—STEVE JONES, TGR COFOUNDER
THERE’S NO DOUBT Continuum melds athleticism, style, and aspiration. “We sought to create a clean setting that would appeal to adventuristic destination travelers,” Ellie says. “I like very clean spaces. I don’t like to walk into a room and there’s so much pattern going on and so many different things that you don’t know where your eyes should go—they’re just jumping around.” The range of color in Continuum is minimal—white and black, punctuated by the occasional pop of color, like a deep-green chair in an upstairs public space.
But for all its high style, the hotel is undoubtedly TGR. In the lobby, guests can don virtual reality goggles to get into a helicopter with skier Angel Collinson or catch a big wave with surfer Rob Machado, both of whom have appeared in multiple TGR films. TGR movies play continuously on a wall of TVs behind the bar in the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant. Sometimes the hotel hosts premieres of new TGR efforts. The bar spills out to a patio with a 25-person hot tub. Jones says creating energizing, active social spaces like these goes with TGR’s approach to the outdoors and culture of having fun. JH