Even after images of the Winter Olympics fade, Whistler, British Columbia is keeping the flame alive via legacy facilities that make it a meetings medalist.
"In general it’s changed our visitor experience because it has redefined what you can do in Whistler," says Kerry Duff, manager of destination media relations for Tourism Whistler. "For instance, there’s ski jump, cross-country and biathlon [facilities] at Olympic Park."
And when she mentions biathlon, she’s referring to the Olympic sport that combines cross-country skiing and target shooting—transformed into a team-building program!
"You shoot rifles at the same targets the Olympic athletes did," she says. "Everybody loves shooting—even people who are apprehensive and would never pick up a rifle love it."
Olympic Park also serves groups through its 11,000-square-foot day lodge, with dedicated meeting space, floor-to-ceiling windows, an outdoor patio, a large dining area and a lounge with a stone fireplace.
More exhilarating group activity options are found at the Whistler Sliding Centre, where the bobsleigh and skeleton competition took place.
"The public can do the bottom third of the skeleton course—head first," Duff says, pointing out that there is a two-hour training course before. "You can get up to 60 mph. It’s great for groups for team building."
If the skeleton is not terrifying enough, starting this winter neophyte bobsleighers—three at a time—can reach speeds up to 80 mph, steered by a professional pilot, thank goodness.
The Whistler Sliding Centre offers three meeting venues, with views of Whistler Village and the surrounding mountains.
The most recent project serving the group market is the conversion of the Olympic Plaza site, where medals were presented, into a large outdoor arena with an amphitheater, set to be completed in December.
Major meeting facilities include the Whistler Conference Center, which offers up 40,000 square feet of space and can hold 1,100 people in its ballroom.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a spectacular off-site event option that celebtrates local First Nations people.
The three-story facility includes meeting space, a museum, a multimedia theater, a 220-foot deck overlooking Blackcomb Mountain and a cafe that fuses traditional First Nations and contemporary cuisine via a menu created by the Four Seasons Resort Whistler.
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