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Sauna Party: Minneapolis, Jan. 15, 2008: -20f, -29c

Yes, that’s NOT a typo!!!

It was that cold.  5 guests showed up for this sauna party.  Dan waltzed in at 10:30 pm “somebody has to be on the late shift” as three of us were deep into our 2nd full round of this sauna party.

Let me try to sum up what a 20 below sauna party is like: I started the Kuuma Stove around 8 pm, then watched some of the Minnesota Wild hockey game back in the house, while riding the stationary bike.  Around 8:30 my 9 year old appears in his bathrobe, wanting to take a sauna party with Dad.  So, we hit it.  Sauna party temp: already 140 degrees f. inside, about 10 degrees f. in the changing room, and -20 degrees f. outside.

Around 9 pm, Chuck and Matt arrive the sauna party.

Let me describe what dumping cold water over one’s head standing outside in -20 degrees f. feels like.  Well, you need sandles on or your feet want to start sticking to the ice/snow outside.  No damper to the sauna party!  You step outside and steam billows off your body like a clothes dryer vent.  You splash water over your head, and as cold as the water is, it feels warm because the air temp. at this sauna party is so brrrrrrrrrr..  Now most folks would run back inside to the sauna party, but if you stand outside for a moment, something wonderful happens.

The water on your skin starts evaporating, blood flows freely around your body, and the heat mass from your body gives you a warm tingly feeling as it hits the cold air.  What a sauna party!  A friend likens it to dipping an ice cream cone in hot chocolate.  Your outer skin has a nice crisp layer feeling to it.  When ice starts forming on your hair, well, it’s time to get back to the sauna party and hang out in the changing room and grab a beer.

The changing room of the sauna party has its own compelling climate.  The steam in the chilly room gives a tropical feeling, a rainforest but fresh and cool.  No rush to go back into the sauna.  The sauna party is now in the changing room.  King Tubby, Radiohead, and Theivery Corporation shuffle mix on Rhapsody music player.  A quick flip of the bottle opener and the sauna party is in full force.  Lots of ice cold water to help keep the hydration happening.  Nate’s gone to bed and 2 more arrive for the sauna party.  Nice thing about a sauna party:  you can casually socialize with whomever you wish.  Good one on one time either in the sauna, hanging in the changing room, or outside sharing a cold beer after a water plunge.  175 degrees f. back in the sauna.  Let’s go back in the sauna!

The Kuuma Stove fought back vigorously with each door opening.  Take a moment to consider this:  if the changing room is, say, 20 degrees and your sauna is, say, 170 degrees, you don’t have to be a thermal mass scientist to figure that there’s quite a blast of cold air and heat loss going on each time someone opens the sauna door at a sauna party.  5-6 people at a sauna party can create quite a test to maintaining an adequate temperature in a sauna.  I started the Kuuma Stove with 4 pieces of firewood, and added 2 more throughout the night.  That’s pretty efficient for a long sauna party!

I was told that after an especially grueling negotiation with Nokia executives, vendors are invited to take a sauna with the top brass.  Now, talk about building vendor relationships!  sauna party!  Brush up on sauna etiquette, close the door!!

TIP: If you sell to Nokia, get a sauna and start enjoying your own sauna party!

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