Following an afternoon of winter sport, sauna has long been tradition throughout Scandinavia to prevent sore muscles and warm the body. Caleb Mikenas, based in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, wanted to bring this culture of sauna to the Roaring Fork Valley, on wheels.
Mikenas’ stepfather taught him the Swedish tradition of sauna, and he was instantly hooked on the health benefit. He’s been scheming a mobile unit for years, and this past winter, he put his family’s construction business to an alternative use and built his mobile sauna for the Roaring Fork Valley.
The wood-burning stove on wheels is the first rollout of Hot Box. This version can accommodate up to six individuals; however, future models hope to be for larger gatherings. Mikenas also wants to add a cold plunge to the experience, since this is also part of his sauna tradition.
Mikenas delivers the Hot Box to your chosen location. A level piece of ground with a nice view is ideal. He lights the wood-fired stove that heats the cedar-sided sauna. Temperatures can rise to 195 degrees Fahrenheit in the unit. It takes about 20 minutes to get to an ideal temperature to begin the sauna. There are towels included, a temperature gage, water for the coals and extra wood.
Photos by Julie Bielenberg
Hot Box is designed after the Swedish tradition of sauna, which is a dry heat, and Mikenas recommends using the sauna for a variety of health reasons, including the reduction of inflammation that he claims helps him with his arthritis. In high heat, the body releases endorphins that minimize pain and reduce inflammation.
“Cleansing skin and eliminating lactic acid and other toxins that may be present in your bloodstream or pores are also and added benefit,” adds Mikenas. “The heat induces a deep sweat, ridding the body of things like lead, copper, zinc and other toxins commonly absorbed in our daily environments.” With the elimination of lactic acid soothing aches and pains in both muscles and joints, saunas are also a great tool for recovery from intense exercise, to relieve stress and to induce a deep sleep.
The Hot Box has been cruising throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. “I had so much fun when I brought the sauna to Reudi Reservoir. It was authentic to dip in the cold water then pop into Hot Box for a session,” explains Mikenas.
A successful sauna actually means a few trips in and out of the heat. Most users will sauna for 15-20 minutes. They will then take a break and get fresh air or dip in cold water if available.
Mikenas also delivered the Hot Box to an Aspen ranch for a week rental for a wedding party. The opportunities and ideas are endless, and that’s why he’s already in the process of building a second Hot Box, this one slightly bigger.
The Hot Box costs $347 for a daily rental and can accommodate up to five people at a time. Mikenas offers discounts for weekly rentals. “The snow is the perfect plunge pool; I’m so excited to have the sauna for this upcoming winter. A good roll in the snow is the perfect
complement to a sauna,” he believes.
A SAUNA WAY OF LIFE
Saunas: 3 million
People: 5.5 million
People: 10.5 million
Originally published in Winter + Spring 2023-24 issue of Well.
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