by Michael Nordskog;
Aaron Hautala, photographer
Nordskog and Hautala’s book is a full-color history and celebration of Finnish sauna in the western Great Lakes. Richly illuminated by Hautala’s photographs of distinctive saunas from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, and Finland, Nordskog’s narrative begins with the origins of Finnish sauna and the arrival of this practice in America, and continues to contemporary designs of saunas by noted architects. To a growing number of people, the culture and practice of Finnish sauna are as much a part of northwoods life as campfires and canoe trips.
This year you can fight winter’s chill with the lure and lore of the sauna. Join in one of life’s great pleasures by sauna-sitting in 180+° heat and throwing cool water over hot stones to create a blast of steam. Follow this with a jump in the lake or stand naked in subzero temperatures or roll in the snow. The Finnish sauna is often a modest structure made of wood and stone. Over time the wood rots, the stones crack, and finally all that is left are memories. It has been said that other than eating, there perhaps isn’t another activity that brings people together to a place where mind, body, and spirit are fused (in this case, fused by heat and steam) to such an extent.
Wisconsin-resident Nordskog, and Hautala, from north central Minnesota, have produced an exquisite commemoration of the history, culture, practice and mystique of Finnish sauna in the northwoods. This is truly a beautiful book, and would make a great gift.