Where it All Began: The Forged Axe Throwing Origin Story
As we come up on our first birthday, we have to take some time to reflect on the origins of Forged Axe Throwing. The past year has been one wild ride, going from a dream to reality sooner than it takes an axe to hit the bullseye. Many people along the way have asked us, just where did this crazy idea come from?
Well, there is no better time than our first birthday to tell our tale.
Forged Axe Throwing is the brainchild of James Anderson and Brett Easton, longtime friends who met way back when at Thompson River University. James grew up on Vancouver Island, and Brett in Calgary, but both headed to the interior to pursue their passion for outdoor adventure in Kamloops.
Little known fact, both Brett and James are certified whitewater raft guides. Just in case Whistler floods, you know who to find. They both worked together for a few seasons at the base of Mount Robson, before heading on their separate ways onto other endeavours across British Columbia.
But it soon became apparent, they couldn’t stay apart for long….
A Bachelor Party For the Books
Ever wonder why Forged Axe Throwing puts on such a great bachelor party? Because Brett and James have a least a few epic parties under their belt, especially that of Brett’s brother. In 2013, Brett’s brother was about to marry the love of his life, but also about the embark on the most debaucherous adventure bachelor party ever conceived.
Five days, 18 guys, and one river. Thankfully, there were also 18 lifejackets and many experienced whitewater guides. Many of the stories from this time are better told in person, but one night, in particular, lives on in infamy. It just so happens to be the night where James and Brett discovered ax throwing for the very first time.
On this night, during the epic five-day event, after one or two beers, and an extremely wild day on the river, it was time to let loose. Lawn darts, axes, and an explosive campfire! What better way to stay safe on the Chilcotin River than some dangerous fun and games? Did we mention its a two-day raft from anywhere?
Brett, James and the gang were doing what comes naturally to Canadian’s in the wilderness, axe throwing. Hour after hour the boys competed, showing each other up, and having one hell of a time. By the end of the campout, they had determined who was the ultimate axe throwing boss. Hot tip, it was Dad.
What seemed like years after the bachelor party came to an end (everyone survived, don’t worry), Brett and James didn’t forget about the lessons learned on the river. The little idea of axe throwing would simmer in the back of their minds for nearly four years.
Welcome to Burning Man
As you may have noticed, Forged Axe Throwing has one fantastic sign up on the wall. Yes, The Sexy Dumpster Dive Camp sign is the original sign from Burning Man. Brett, James, and the Sexy Dumpster Crew hit up Burning man for the very first time as a legitimate theme camp in 2016. Here, the little seed axe throwing became a fully formed business idea.
As many Burner’s will tell you, it’s a great place to do some serious thinking. Its creative, its mind-opening, and it’s completely free. Anything you dream of is possible at Burning Man, and that is how Brett and James turned Forged Axe Throwing into a reality.
The Sexy Dumpster Dive Camp was based on a daytime margarita bar, and a sexy life size dumpster filled with playpen balls and a bulk shipment of sex toys. Needless to say, everyone who experienced the Sexy Dumpster Dive game left with a margarita and sex toy in hand. It was a riot!
James and Brett were not surprisingly inspired by this odd party game; it was like they could turn anything into the ultimate party!
And that was when the idea of turning ax throwing into a legitimate business was born. Axe throwing could be the ultimate party space Whistler was waiting for.
Forged Axe Throwing Was Born
Long before we had a name picked out, we were formulating the idea. James had done his research; axe throwing was a popular experience all across this great country of ours. From the East Coast to the Prairies, people had been throwing axes for years! But strangely enough, British Columbia is was missing out on the action.
We decided that if any city deserved to be the premier axe throwing destination in BC, it was Whistler. Although we might be a little biased, because we’ve called this place home for years, Whistler makes the perfect backdrop for a bit of bullseye action. Powdery peaks, white water rapids, deep ancient forests, and a sense of adventure. Arguably, Whistler is where people go to get a taste of the real Canada.
The real planning for Forged Axe Throwing started in the summer of 2016. First, we needed to space to call home in Whistler’s ever-inflating commercial real estate market. Not an easy task, especially in the Village.
Soon enough, it became apparent that Function Junction would be our new home. Not just because of the rent, but because of the neighborhood is where our kind of people live, work and hang out. It has not just one, but two breweries, many casual eateries, charming cafes, and tons of future potential
In what just may be the luckiest turn of events, a perfect space opened up on Alpha Lake Road, next to the Coast Mountain Brewery, and surrounded by some fantastic neighbours. In late December 2016, the construction got underway at a fevered pitch.
In just a little over two months, our concrete box evolved into an authentic axe throwing space, with a rustic and casual style. Major thanks go to many of our friends who pitched in during this time. As with any construction project, there were some ups and downs, especially as the big opening drew near.
We wanted to keep the space real, which meant using recycled metal, old barn board sourced from a 100-year-old barn in Surrey, and a few shout-outs to our lumberjack roots.
The creative vision was straight from the heart. Our heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears went into creating the Forged space you know and love.
March 31 Opening 2017
If you have watched any renovation reality shows, we can assure you that the down-to-the-wire plotline is no exaggeration. We were manically running around up until the very minute before the Grand Opening. Touching up paint, screwing in the final screws, placing the targets, it really all came together at the last minute, thanks in part to all our friends and family who jumped on board to help. It was a collaboration from start to finish.
As the doors opened, we held our breath, would anyone be as excited about ax throwing as we were? We’d been practicing for months, and needed some additional competition. However, we had nothing to fear. Within only an hour, our dreams were becoming a reality. Not only had wonderful friends shown up, but we also had a line up out the door of tourists and locals alike hungry to try their own hand at axe throwing. Soon, we had maxed out our capacity and axes were flying (safely of course).
Learning and Growing in 2017
Our grand opening was so successful; it blew the doors wide open on what was possible. Since our big opening day, we have continued to pursue a bigger and better axe throwing experience:
- We’ve started up a locals league night, aimed at bringing people together and fostering friendship, plus a little healthy competition, in this nomadic town of ours.
- We’ve built a Mobile Axe Throwing component to our repertoire. Now, you don’t have to come to us; we can come to you! It’s already attended some major events, like the Squamish Beer Festival, the Whistler Beer Festival, the Animal Kingdom music festival, not to mention countless private events like weddings, bachelor parties, and staff events.
- We’ve started hosting parties on a pretty regular basis! That means we open our doors to everyone, with discounted axe throwing rates to give everyone a little taste of the excitement, and we serve beer! Christmas Sweater Parties are only just the start!
- We’ve grown our staff! We now have 11 solid family members on our team. We literally could not be #2 on Trip Advisor without our team members pumping up the energy levels, and teaching the great sport of axe throwing to everyone.
What’s to Come in the Future?
Normally, we’d love to dish the details on what we are brewing in the coming days, but the secret is too good to tell. If you want to find out about the biggest news to hit Forged Axe Throwing in the coming months, follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get the latest updates. We promise it’s gonna be big!