Gondolas with heated seat cushions are a tad excessive, yes, but no complaints here. But what if the entire gondola were heated to 170 degrees? Well, then that gondola would also be a sauna—a saundola, if you will. And you know who likes skiing and saunas? Finnish people. That’s why Finnish ski resort Ylläs debuted the world’s first sauna gondola last spring. After forking over 1,500 euros, you and 11 friends enter a private mountaintop room with a fireplace and adjacent sauna to warm up for the main event. Then you all get naked and take turns riding in the saundola, which holds four people, as it whisks you up and down the resort’s 1,410 vertical feet for two hours. Riding in a gondola naked might be a crime in the U.S. (a Vermont man was arrested for doing just that in 2006), but it’s encouraged in Lapland: The saundola has tinted windows so you and your special parts can enjoy the view without being seen by perverts. Sure, the very idea of a saundola is absurd, but the Finns invented saunas, so they get a free pass on this one. Still, there are better things to do while you’re sweaty and naked on a gondola.
- SKIING MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009