Steam rises from a small pool at Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs on a cool spring day, seeming to invite would-be patrons to relax in the hot water.
The Eclipse facility is a major change from the large swimming pool many will remember on the site. The former pool was demolished in 2020.
Unlike the old facility, which hosted generations of Yukon kids and their families over the years, Eclipse will offer more of a spa experience. There are hot pools, a sauna, steam rooms and a relaxation centre with heated loungers and slabs.
While the facility isn’t open yet, owners Gary Umbrich and Carla Pitzel are ready to show it off as the finishing touches are put on and they await the final paperwork needed to open to the public.
After extensive delays thanks to COVID-19, supply chain issues and the like, Umbrich said they are pleased the facility is so close to opening.
“It just makes it a very long process of frustrations, but I just look at it as, ‘Well, everybody’s had frustrations,’” he said during a March 28 media tour.
“So it’s been tough that way, yeah, but we’re just so excited.”
Already about 10 of the 15 to 20 staff have been hired with Umbrich pointing out wages start above $20 an hour and include benefits. Umbrich, Pitzel and staff already working on-site are already sporting shirts featuring the Eclipse logo.
Umbrich is quick to note the effort that went into securing local rocks for the outside rock-scapes surrounding the pools. The facility includes four pools that vary in depth and size, including two that are wheelchair accessible.
Ramps with railings on both sides are also there for those with mobility challenges and Umbrich said staff will be available to assist those wanting help to make their way into the pool.
The facility takes its influence from Nordic, Japanese, Turkish and other Canadian hot springs.
Along with the hot pools is a cold plunge pool for those who want to do a Nordic cycle.
As Pitzel described, the Nordic cycle comes from a practise in Scandinavian countries where people will do “hot therapy,” spending 10 minutes or so in a hot pool, followed by “cold therapy” and another 10 or 15 minutes of rest. The cycle is done two to three times and serves as a bit of a workout for the heart and vascular system.
“And the other thing it is doing is the cold part of the cycle gives you those endorphins that just make you feel amazing,” she said. “So after you’ve done (the cycle) two or three times, you’re just feeling great.”
It was that cycle that saw Umbrich and Pitzel include “Nordic” as part of the name for the new facility.
“It’s not because we’re in the north, but we’re referring to the Nordic cycle, Nordic spa,” she said.
The other part of the name – Eclipse – comes from the fascination many seem to have with the northern sky and in the desire for services there “to go above and beyond.”
“We play with a lot of the names on our facility,” Pitzel said. “We have the Aurora Pool, we have the Solstice Deck. And the Solar and Lunar Eclipse steam rooms.”
The facility will have 15 spots available every 20 minutes for guests to come into the building. As both Umbrich and Pitzel emphasized, they want to make coming into the facility an easy process for visitors and this will help eliminate or reduce line-ups outside.
Single entry passes will start at $19 with pricing dependent on the time of day (mornings will be the least expensive). There will also be six months and annual passes available for Yukoners who plan to be there more often with the facility set to be open all year, including Christmas day.
Walk-ins will be welcome, though those who have prebooked times via the Eclipse website at eclipsenordichotsprings.ca will be prioritized.
After coming in to the facility, visitors will grab a bin for their gear, take a cleansing shower and then enjoy the facility, perhaps first enjoying a sauna or steam room before making their way to the pools outside.
Also indoors is the relaxation centre, a place features heated loungers and slabs, zero gravity chairs positioned to take in the sunlight and more.
A small, licensed cafe — the Hot Rocks Cafe — will also offer up drinks and food.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com