Tips for Visiting Whistler With a Group
If you are coming to Whistler for the first time, it’s more than likely you are not coming here alone. In fact, you probably have at least a few associates with you, whether that happens to be your entire Tuesday night football team, your extended relatives visiting from Sweden, or maybe you are lucky enough to be coming to Whistler on a business trip. Whatever the case, Whistler was definitely built with the group mentality in mind.
Even if you have visited Whistler in the past, and think you’ve experienced all there is to do on a group trip, we bet there are some hidden gems out there this time around that might just surprise you. This is especially true if you’ve only visited during peak ski season because there are three entirely new seasons worth of activities you are missing out on! Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall, Whistler turns over a new leaf each season and continues to entice people with new experiences and adventures each time they visit.
When planning your group trip to Whistler, there are a few moving parts to be planned out beforehand, however.
Showing up in the Village with 20 of your best girlfriends on a Saturday night might sound fun theory, but will quickly deteriorate into a logistical nightmare before long.
Groups require a bit of forethought, and no matter how professional the setting, groups can easily look like a weak attempt to herd cats if not done right. Planning is essential for a smooth, efficient and fun Whistler group trip.
Forged Axe Throwing can speak with some authority on the matter of Whistler groups. If we know anything, it’s how to manage the logistics of a group activity from start to finish. No need to get overwhelmed with your own planning process though, we are here to help! Planning an epic group adventure in Whistler can be simple, so let’s break down into a step-by-step process.
What’s your Main Priority?
The first step should be the easiest step. Ask yourself, why are you bringing your group all the way to Whistler instead of hanging out back at the office or staying at grandma’s house? While finding the meaning of your group trip may sound a bit simplistic, determining the primary focus for your visit will decide many of the other building blocks in your epic Whistler adventure. A major determining factor to clarify is if you are coming with friends, family or co-workers?
If your answer is coworkers, and you are coming for a corporate event, the main focus will likely be quite professional. We imagine it focused on team-building, corporate culture development, and meetings, meetings, meetings! This will leave unfortunately little time for activities, right? Absolutely not! Can’t meetings be held over drinks at Christine’s on Blackcomb, after taking the Peak-To-Peak Gondola? What about team building activities at Forged-Axe Throwing? A little adventure can help stimulate those creative juices!
But what about if your answer to the question was family? Whistler has long been the destination for memorable family vacations. But if you are the one in charge of planning for a family reunion, your priorities will likely be more focused on finding something for all members of your tribe to enjoy, young and old. Family vacations in Whistler typically mean full days, chock full of powder on the slopes of Blackcomb, enjoying the great outdoors on relaxing family float with Wedge Rafting.
Are you coming with friends? Are they here to enjoy the great outdoors, or are they down to party? Plan accordingly, because making plans to hike Joffery Lake at 6 am Sunday morning might not be suitable for the Bachelor party hitting Buffalo Bills Saturday night. Thankfully, whatever you and your friends are here for, there are epic adventures waiting around every turn.
Laying the Foundation – Budgeting, Accommodation, and Transportation
Perhaps this foundational step is not the most exciting step in the process, but it is one of the most important ones. Just like you can’t fit the entire wedding party into a taxi, you also can’t grandma to sleep on the floor of the vacation rental. Planning ahead regarding your accommodation, and basic transportation needs can’t be left to the very last minute. If we can recommend anything to you, it is to book these items now and save yourself the nightmare later.
What’s your Budget?
Concerning budgeting for Whistler, many people assume incorrectly that this place is only for the rich and the famous. While there are unmistakably some luxury options out there, Whistler does have tons of affordable options available for the financially mindful. Again, booking ahead of time will not only ensure you find space for everyone in your party but often save you money in the long run as well. This applies to all aspects of your trip, the hotel, the ride, and all the activities: plan in advance and save big time!
Especially for the budget conscious, traveling in a group can be good for your wallet. There are so many group rates out there for Whistler groups if you simply ask. Often hotels and tour operators will have a discount sitting in their pocket if you mention you are booking for your entire wedding party, divorce party or your 17 piece Mariachi band.
Where are you going to Sleep?
Are you booking out an entire floor at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler (lucky!), or are you looking for a little A-frame to book out for your family Christmas vacation (still pretty lucky!)? Whistler is a town full of more accommodation options than you can even dream of. One important thing to consider when planning where and what to book, is to think about any items on your schedule that your group absolutely needs to attend…like the wedding. If the wedding is in Creekside, why make the wedding party stay in a hotel in the Upper Village?
Also, while food might not be a concern for people attending a convention, it could be a huge consideration to take into account when planning the accommodation for other groups. For example, finding a ten bedroom vacation rental in a quiet neighbourhood might be perfect for a family reunion, because you’ll be cooking up Thanksgiving Dinner! You’ll obviously need a luxury kitchen to do so. But what if you want to sample some of the fine-dining options Whistler has to offer, like Bearfoot Bistro or Rimrock café? In this case, you’ll only need to think about a hotel room, and likely it will need to be located near all the delicious action. While we are on the subject, many restaurants in town have great group options available if you call ahead!
How is Everyone Going to get Here?
Are you and your guests arriving by air, land or skis? If you need to be picked up from Vancouver, from your mountain side cabin, or even from a restaurant, it isn’t always that easy if there are more than four of you. Thankfully, there are tons of options available no matter what the size of your group, including luxury taxis, private charters, even our excellent public transit service! Many hotels and tour operators will be happy to assist if you need to find a transport method to and from your planned activity.
Although we hate to sound like a broken record, planning the transportation in advance for the important events on your schedule is vital in this town.
Your best friends birthday party can’t even get started if the 10 of you cannot find a taxi to pick you up. Call ahead!
And now…Activity Time!
Finally, the fun part, planning your Whistler groups’ schedule! Like we mentioned above, Whistler has enough activities to keep you entertained for the rest of your life. Even for the Whistler local who is trying to plan a group event, we bet there are some things even they haven’t crossed off their list just yet. Plus, new adventures are cropping up each and every season.
Some people may be hesitant to plan a group getaway to Whistler because they assume the town is just for the ski bunnies. But Whistler understands the needs and desires of everyone in your group, even if they hate the snow. Our city is chock full of adventure, for any age, ability or preference! Perhaps the best way to find something perfect for your group is for us to give you our top 5 favourite group activities. After all, we have been around the block a few times and think we have a pretty good sense of what constitutes a great group experience.
Forged Axe Throwing
Throwing axes is the number one group activity in Whistler obviously! Have you ever experienced a little friendly axe throwing competition between friends? Or what about a little pre-party activity before your bachelorette? We give all our groups an excellent introduction into the art of axe throwing, including a safety talk and pro tips. After a little practice, we foster a little friendly competition. So why not take on the boss or pitch the ladies against the gentlemen? Axe throwing is an excellent introduction to Whistler for all groups, whether they are of the friend, family or professional variety.
The Adventure Group
Our number two suggestion is actually many epic adventures rolled into one. Spend the day outside climbing through the trees, flying through the air, or raging down the rapids. If you can think of an epic outdoor adventure, The Adventure Group has beat you to it. We recommend spending at least one day on Cougar Mountain; they offer bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, zip lining, heli-sightseeing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, just to name a few. Be sure to mention that Forged sent you for a discount!
Bar Hop and Pub Crawl in Whistler
The only activity on our list that might not be meant for the entire family, but it can sure make a stag or stagette a memorable experience. The Bar Hop might even help loosen up the most uptight members on your corporate board! The tour serves as the perfect guided introduction to the Whistler party scene, catered by Gibbens. The Bar Hop takes place every weekend taking you and your group to five of the best Whistler watering holes. Includes drinks, VIP access, complimentary cover, and one sweet night out! Again, mention our name for a discount on the tour!
The Escape! Whistler
Not everyday is bright a sunny in Whistler, which means sometimes you have to brainstorm a few indoor activities. After axe throwing, may we suggest a little Escape! action? Working your way through a series of puzzle rooms requires you and everyone in your group to work together. Team Building at its finest! There is no better way to get to know other people in your team then to be thrown into a room together. Even if you have participated in one of the puzzles before, the themes are constantly changing, and they are always building in new surprises!
Yes, it is a bit cliche, but look around you! Whistler is surrounded by great outdoors! Taking the family on a hike, a picnic or even bungee jumping is one of the best way to take advantage of all Whistler has to offer. Plus, many outdoor activities are free of charge and require no reservation. So even, after reading this entire article you forget to plan anything in advance, the good news is you can still bring the entire hockey team for a day at the lake. There will always be space for you there.