A sauna is a good thing | AspenTimes.com

A sauna is a good thing

Joel Stonington

There is nothing better than a sauna or hot tub after a nice, long day of skiing in the sun. Sore muscles get a little loosening, the mind slackens and sleep is near. On Thursday night, a few friends and I built a sauna in an undisclosed location with free-flowing water nearby and plenty of firewood. For a few hours we kept a raging bonfire heating up rocks and illuminating snow flurries.After a hot dinner, cooked especially for the occasion by a master chef, we started placing the rocks into the low sauna. With a dozen or so glowing rocks, the sauna was like a blast furnace. In we crawled. Chants ensued. Severe relaxation began. With water poured on the rocks, the sauna got hotter and hotter until that moment when it was either die or scramble out. Twenty or 30 minutes in there is enough to make emerging naked into the cold air and snow feel like standing up after getting tumbled in a big wave.You’ve been through something serious. Then, to complete the feeling, we ran and jumped into the water.With a hot body, the water didn’t even feel that cold, and it was possible to stay in there for a little bit.After emerging from the snowmelt, we stood by the fire with only our boots on and turned slowly, like rotisseries, to stay warm on all sides. The fire crackled. The moon poked through in between flurries. Low-hanging clouds obscured the tops of the highest trees. Water rushed by. And that was the feeling, standing out by the water and trees, with snow coming down, and the fire sizzling with each flake. We slipped a bit on the rocks and added more wood to the fire. Soon, the gentle pulse of tired muscles and a full belly were leading us toward a good night’s sleep.

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