What better way to combat the dry cold of winter than with the dry heat of a cozy sauna?
Don't believe us? See for yourself at Sauna Winnipeg at The Forks and get your steam on after freezing your buns off doing all the usual fun outdoor winter activities we offer every year.
The new pop-up business was started by a pair of local entrepreneurs and best buds, Jeff Lomas and Mark Buchholz, who came up with the idea to create the saunas while hanging out in, well… a sauna.
Lomas, a teacher, and Buchholz, who has a business background, are no strangers to dreaming up some wild ideas (albeit ones that don’t often come to fruition), but the pair didn’t know a whole lot about saunas, other than the fact they liked using the one at Buchholz’s cottage.
“Mark has a sauna at his cottage, he kinda got into it when he was travelling in Europe, specifically in Germany, and he really got into the sauna-ing and the sauna cycle and then he got himself a sauna at his cottage at Victoria Beach,” explains Lomas.
“One day we were hanging out and thought, wouldn’t it be great if The Forks had a sauna business there and we always, we’re always whipping out pipe dreams and so we’re like, ‘Yeah let’s try and do this,’ A couple years later, here we are.”
The two, six-person barrel saunas are on the east of the skating rink under the canopy, and also include a specially designed, modular, A-frame structure that contains a reception area, change rooms and a small seating area with a bonfire which can hold around six people.
The sauna area also falls under our licensed umbrella, so you’ll be able to have a drink or two as you relax by the fire (though we also suggest drinking lots of water to rehydrate after sweating it out in the barrels!)
The idea is to do a cycle of heat, cool down and rest. The sauna and rest parts are obvious, but for the cool down, since there won’t be a chilly pool available to dip into, Lomas hopes folks will take advantage of their snowy surroundings and try that instead before heading inside to more figuratively chill out.
In terms of booking a spot or spots, groups of six or fewer can pre-book a private sauna for $150 for 90 minutes, and solo sauna-ers can reserve a single spot for $25 for 90 minutes. Walk-up bookings are also possible if availability allows. Turkish-style body towels and towels to sit on are provided, and robes will be available for rent.
Both Lomas or Buccholz are new to the business-starting and sauna-building game, but they have always had a strong vision for the project and why the perfect home for Sauna Winnipeg is right here at The Forks.
“I think when we talk to people about this, they automatically think of somewhere like Thermea, and we’re not that, we’re not a spa, we don’t have big hot tubs or whatever. We are really focusing on, yes, the health benefits of the sauna, but also the experience. The Forks is a great place that brings people together and we really want to jump on that and celebrate the community, that’s a big part of our vision,” says Lomas.
“We have our three pillars: community, health and fun. And we really want to focus on those three things. We want people to enjoy themselves but at the same time enjoy the people around them and reap the benefits of the sauna and how it really helps a person’s health.”
The saunas will be open until the end of March, and will be back next fall, in October 2020.