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What Happened to Sisu, the Traveling Sauna? - Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles : Current Affairs


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News, 3/5/2018

What Happened to Sisu, the Traveling Sauna?

Last year, Risto Sivula and Jouko Sipilä traveled across the U.S. in a moving sauna to celebrate Finland's centennial. They were happy to have been able to bring the Finnish sauna culture to Americans' reach, and now the work they started continues in New York with new owners.

As Finland's centennial year drew to a close late last year, so did the remarkable American tour of Sisu, the Traveling Sauna. The sauna, which served as a mascot of the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence, ended its journey in Washington, D.C.  on December 2, 2017, just in time for Finland’s Independence Day celebrations. If you haven't done so already, you can read more of Sisu's journey on a blog dedicated to it.

Risto Sivula and Jouko Sipilä together with the Traveling Sauna
Risto Sivula and Jouko Sipilä posing in front of the Traveling Sauna

When the centennial celebrations were over, the owners no longer had a particular reason to keep Sisu around. So, what do you do with a perfectly good sauna on wheels that you don't have use for? Well, you can always try to sell it.

That's what Risto Sivula and Jouko Sipilä, the masterminds behind the Traveling Sauna project, did. Sivula said that from the very beginning, they made the decision to sell Sisu to a new owner as soon as they were done with the grand tour. They arranged an online auction late last year to find Sisu a new home.

Selling the sauna turned out to be rather easy. Sivula and Sipilä got plenty of interest, all the way from Texas to Minnesota, but eventually sold the sauna to two young women from New York, Jackie and Paula. “We are very happy that there is an authentic Finnish public sauna now in the City of New York", Sivula said.

As Sisu changed owners, it also changed its name. The newly branded HotBox Mobile Sauna will be heated for the general public for the first time in March at Nowadays in New York City.

Risto Sivula assures that the sauna is in good hands. The young owners might be able to draw in a new generation of sauna-goers, especially since saunas have gained lately a lot of attention also as a wellness trend. He hopes that the sauna will be actively used and that New Yorkers will enjoy the traditional wood-heated sauna, which nearly 1500 people tested and approved last year.

Despite the changes, one thing has remained the same – you can still break a good sweat in there!

EDIT (March 7, 2018, 9:19 a.m.): Updated quote: "We are very happy that there is an authentic Finnish public sauna now in the City of New York."

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Updated 3/7/2018

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