Gravity Ranch idea hits a snag so project is off the rails...for now
Written by Mark Reaman   
Wednesday, 03 April 2013

Contract for property terminated

The recently approved Gravity Ranch project has been put on hold for now. Doug and Alexandra Hudson had planned to purchase a bank-owned property on Highway 135 just south of the Crested Butte South turn-in. The property includes a riding arena that they hoped to convert into a 12,000-square-foot athletic training center for all types of freestyle athletes.


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But dealing with the bank that owns the property “has not been easy” and so the Hudsons have stepped away from the contract to purchase the property.
“The idea is not dead,” said Doug. “Given the financial circumstances we had to walk away from the property for now but we are doing everything we can to try to get the project going again. We strongly believe in this idea.
“We were looking at a unique project on a unique piece of property,” Doug continued. “It’s an emerging industry for sure and one that’s oftentimes difficult for financial minds to wrap their heads around. I understand that and until I saw the Woodward at Copper facility and saw the potential I too had a difficult time understanding how the numbers could work. But Woodward has several places now. It’s blowing up big and it’s an industry that in my mind works for this place.”
The concept behind the Gravity Ranch was to serve the area’s athletic interests and bring in enthusiasts interested in learning how to better compete in events like big mountain and freeride skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and bmx events at venues like the X Games and even the Olympics.
Aerial training on bike, skate, ski and snowboard would have been part of the project. According to Hudson, Western State Colorado University and Crested Butte Mountain Resort were both very supportive of the proposal, recognizing the potential to better attract and retain students and visitors.
As part of the early fundraising, the Hudsons had sold 65 charter memberships that entitled families to discounts in perpetuity to the Gravity Ranch. That money has been refunded to families.
“We had a great level of support across the community from a wide range of demographics,” he said. “There is clearly demand and interest. Now we have to figure out how to structure it given this setback.”
In a letter to the charter members, Hudson said while the contract on this particular property has been terminated, the idea has not.
“The good news in this message is that we’re not giving up—it’s not in our nature,” the Hudsons wrote. “Frankly, we don’t know how, especially when we see such a tremendous opportunity that could benefit so many. This is our family dream and it has become intertwined with many others’ dreams; your dreams.... We’re regrouping and re-strategizing and look forward to bringing good news in the future.”
Gravity Ranch is exploring other properties in the valley to see if there is one that could fit the concept of such an adventure business. Hudson said, however, the property that was under contract worked well, given the structures already in place. “I don’t anticipate it being as easy if we had to build say a temporary structure to get started,” Hudson said. “But we’ll keep looking. We aren’t giving up.”
For now, the Hudsons’ attention will shift to the summer Gravity Groms program that focuses on everything from rockets to mountain biking, skateboarding and downhill biking.
“We are circling back with the Small Business Administration, Region 10 and all the generous people who have invested or expressed interest in Gravity Ranch. We want to explore every avenue. We believe strongly in this concept,” Hudson said.
“The toughest part of the process was letting everyone know,” summarized Hudson. “There are all these kids and athletes who are disappointed. It’s real. It’s a great thing for our family, the community and kids and athletes in the valley. We want to keep the dream alive.”