Nestled in British Columbia's spectacular coast mountains, Whistler is Canada’s center of outdoor adventure. A co-host of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic events, Whistler is a “year-round resort with fun activities and great sightseeing no matter when you visit,” explains Mary Zinck, manager of travel media at Tourism Whistler. The local population of 10,400 welcomes more than 2.7 million guests annually, and event spaces of all types and sizes make the resort suitable for any gathering.
Where to Meet
With vaulted ceilings and a massive stone fireplace, the Whistler Conference Centre “feels more like a ski resort lodge or mountain chalet,” says Preston Miller, director of conference sales and services. There are a variety of options in nearly 40,000 square feet of rentable space, ranging from a multipurpose, 16,500-square-foot ballroom that seats up to 1,600 to 13 configurable breakout rooms of varying sizes. Its 255-seat theater features state-of-the-art lighting and audio systems, as well as the latest digital technology. Added conveniences include wireless Internet throughout and underground parking.
Located in the heart of the village, the conference center provides easy access to an extensive selection of dining, shopping, activities and accommodations. A few minutes’ walking distance from Whistler’s major conference hotels, the venue works closely with the accommodations to provide seemingly unlimited options for event planners.
For a unique setting and stunning mountain views, Whistler Sport Legacies offers two venues that once hosted Olympic events: Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park. Planners can create an Olympic-themed event, whether it is a reception for 800 on the 2,821-square-foot deck of the Sliding Centre, a seated presentation for 120 in the Sliding Centre’s 1,968-square-foot pavilion, or a meeting for 40 at the Olympic Park Day Lodge.
The Olympic theme can be incorporated into your event or meeting by adding to your agenda activities such as skiing, snowshoeing and biathlons at the Olympic Park or bobsledding and skeleton sledding at the Sliding Centre. And when the snow melts, you can substitute Rollerblading, summer biathlons, biking, hiking or bobsleighing on wheels for winter sports.
With 550 guest rooms and 26 meeting rooms offering more than 32,000 square feet of space, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is Whistler’s largest hotel and conference venue. It features resort décor and flexible function spaces. Meeting options range from an elegant ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,300 to an executive boardroom suit- able for an intimate meeting.
The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler has 419 guest rooms and nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space. Its 14 meeting rooms can be configured to accommodate a small meeting of 10 or a large gathering of 1,100.
Groups seeking a distinctive space for an off-site gathering should consider the Roundhouse Lodge, located on Whistler Mountain. Situated at 6,069 feet above sea level, with 360-degree mountain views, the lodge has 15,000 square feet of function space that can accommodate as many as 1,500. Elanor Bushfield, manager of group sales for Whistler Blackcomb, says, “The lodge can be customized with any décor from white tablecloth to a special theme. We even installed an ice rink for one event.”
WHISTLER BY THE NUMBERS
38.5 FEET OF SNOWFALL ANNUALLY
1.88 MILES IS THE SPAN OF THE PEAK 2 PEAK GONDOLA— THE WORLD’S LONGEST UNSUPPORTED SPAN
5 LAKES IN WHISTLER VALLEY
4 CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSES
No. 1 OVERALL RESORT IN 2016 (SKI MAGAZINE)
What to Do & Where to Go
Post-meeting activities range from exhilarating to relaxing. Winter at Whistler presents some of the best alpine activities in North America. Summer offers a full range of options from a leisurely round of golf to an adventurous white-water rafting trip.
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola, stretching between Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, provides expansive views of towering peaks and lush forests. Whether you’re hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter, enjoying a meal at one of the five mountaintop restaurants, or simply enjoying the view, a ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a memorable experience any time of the year.
While flying like an eagle down a zip line or taking a treetop walk between viewing platforms, Ziptrek Ecotours’ participants will enjoy an exhilarating team-building experience. For a less strenuous way to enjoy the Whistler scenery, Rainbow Glacier Helicopter Tours takes guests on sightseeing, skiing and alpine picnic tours.
For history and culture, head to the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre, which preserves and displays the culture of the Squamish and Lil’Wat societies. Interactive exhibits showcase the history, creativity and background of the First Nation peoples. Newly opened, the Audain Art Museum houses a large body of work by British Columbia artists and a collection of 19th-century Northwest Coast masks. The museum “adds another level to the culture of the region,” says Zinck.
Whistler’s pedestrian-only central core abounds with boutiques, specialty shops and art galleries. Visitors will find everything from everyday necessities to rugged sportswear, the newest fashions, stylish jewelry and one-of-akind artworks. More than 100 dining venues offer a diverse selection, from casual bistros to award-winning fine dining.
Declared one of the most livable communities on earth by the United Nations in 2005, Whistler is a quintessential all-season resort town in a remarkable setting. And it’s all right here, in our own backyard.