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Businesses make their getaway destination Squamish

Squamish is 'set for tourism' according to corporate retreaters

Aerotek, a recruitment and staffing agency based in Greater Vancouver, has held an annual retreat in Squamish for the past three years, and they don't plan on changing destinations anytime soon.

More than 40 people stayed at the Outdoor Centre just off Squamish Valley Road last weekend to reconnect in a laid back atmosphere.

Aerotek operation director Chris Boyd, who selected Squamish, said the weekend long corporate retreat is an opportunity for the staff to get to know each other better.

"We work in different offices and different areas," said Boyd, "so it's a time to network and get to know each other."

Their type of company is based on interaction, so networking is essential, he said.

"We're a human capital company where we deal with people everyday. So we have to have a dynamic, charismatic type of individual that works for us."

Boyd called Squamish an ideal place for a retreat because of its proximity to Vancouver, its beauty and affordability.

They spent Saturday at Alice Lake and some time in the downtown but spent most their evenings at Sunwolf Outdoor Centre.

"It's relatively reasonable price wise to come up here, and everybody's friendly," said Boyd. "It's set for tourism so they're used to groups our size coming up - everything's been user friendly and everything's been great."

They tried other venues elsewhere before deciding on Sunwolf.

"We came here because of the flexibility and the customer service," he said. "The cabins are nice and it's relatively easy to find, which is important because we have people coming from all over the Lower Mainland."

Sunwolf Outdoor Centre, located right on the Cheekye and Cheakamus rivers, has a fire pit, a hot tub, a volleyball court, a barbeque and picnic tables.

The staff played several volleyball games and stayed up late into the night socializing. The campground also organized acoustic entertainer Chris Munro to perform on the Friday night.

"This was our first year with a band but from now on it will be part of our ritual," said Boyd. "We hope it's the same band too."

Aerotek customer support associate Paulina Johnson has worked at Aerotek for three years and organized the event every year. She said this year was by far the best one yet because they ventured out of the campground and the musical performance was "ridiculously awesome."

"It's fairly close and it's a beautiful drive," she said. "We also get to tell our U.S. partners we're right by Whistler, which makes them pretty jealous."

Andrew Slater, one of four Sunwolf owners, only took over the campground about two weeks ago. He said they hope to host more weekend long events such as corporate retreats, weddings, reunions or other special events.

"For events like that they can just book all 10 cabins and have bands come play or DJs or whatever they want," said Slater. "Our standard day-to-day operation is cabin rentals but we do get big group bookings - we already have four this summer."

Squamish appears to be making a name for itself as a destination for conferences, weddings and other events. Other venues such as garibaldi Springs Golf Course have also seen a rise in group bookings.

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