A new business in Whitehorse rents a portable sauna to Yukoners
Yukon Sauna, started by Tyler and Joyce Rempel, originally came to be when the two wanted a portable sauna for their own use. Tyler Rempel found the sauna through someone who is running a similar business to Yukon Sauna, in Vancouver, and got one shipped up.
“I wanted a sauna for myself, but where I’m living, I’m just renting, so it doesn’t make sense to build a sauna because if we end up leaving that place, we’re just gonna leave it,” said Tyler Rempel. “So, I was trying to think of a way to have a sauna that’s mobile and not gonna be landlocked as soon as I left the house.”
It wasn’t long before Rempel realized he had a business opportunity on his hands. There are public saunas you can use in Whitehorse—but the idea of a portable, private one that could be easily transported to a private residence or even a camping area was something others started to take interest in, and after letting some friends use it, the Rempels decided to offer use of their sauna to the public.
“I just wanted a sauna,” Rempel reiterated, adding, “and then it ended up being ‘I’m just gonna share this sauna with everyone!’”
Using Yukon Sauna is different than one at a swimming facility or a gym, mainly for its portability and privacy, but the added bonuses are plentiful, and Rempel said it’s great being able to take it out into the wilderness where you can cut holes in the ice and do ice dips and then retreat back into the sauna, mere metres away, immediately afterwards. It’s also nice, he said, with a laugh, to not have to be surrounded by sweaty strangers.
“Everyone who’s used it, it’s been really, really positive,” Rempel said of the reception to Yukon Sauna, so far. “Most of the marketing I’ve been doing is just with our social media, and that’s pretty much it, but we’re getting lots of clients beyond just our friend group and little bit of networking we’ve been doing, so I guess the word is getting out there, so it’s working.”
Yukon Sauna is mostly renting out for a day at a time, or a three-day weekend. They offer delivery free, within Whitehorse, and charge a delivery fee for use outside of the city. The process is simple—the Rempels drop off and pick up the sauna, with firewood and setup included, and Rempel gets all the info he needs with a simple conversation. After giving clients a run-through of how the sauna works, Rempel leaves the sauna in the client’s hands.
The farthest Yukon Sauna has been, so far, is Tagish, but Rempel hopes to see it used at some campsites around the Yukon in the near future. The sauna comfortably seats seven or “eight, if you’re really friendly,” said Rempel.
As far as future plans go, Rempel wants to keep doing what he’s doing with Yukon Sauna, but he’s open to creating a more-permanent, public outdoors setup, somewhere down the line, while still renting personal-use saunas.
Saunas bring great health benefits, as well as community building, and can be a great activity for friends to do that doesn’t involve screens or technology, according to Rempel. It’s easy to stare at your phone the whole time if you’re out having dinner, as he explained, but in a sauna, you have to put your phone down and have conversations with the people around you.“Everything is super positive, and it’s really cool,” Rempel said. “People are loving it.”