Thor's Fitness has a mirrored room with cardio and strength-training machines. (Emily Files)

Thor’s Fitness has a mirrored room with cardio and strength-training machines. (Emily Files)

Haines has its first privately-owned gym. Until now, residents could use the high school gym during limited hours, but there wasn’t any other fitness center in town. Thor’s Fitness opened Monday in the former Elks building on Main Street. It has an exercise room with weights, treadmills, and strength-training machines. Owner Chris Thorgesen hopes to eventually include a juice bar, children’s area, and sauna.


Throughout the day Monday, people wandered into Thor’s Fitness, curious about what they would find.

“We wanted to see how this place has been transformed and the equipment that’s here,” said Haines resident Jansy Hansen. “I was impressed. I walked in and it looks like a completely different place.”

Hansen says she doesn’t recall any other gyms in Haines in the 17 years she’s been here.

“You know, people have been talking about it for years, about how the town needs a gym and all those things. For someone to just come along and say I’m gonna do it, I think it’s great,” Hansen said.

Owner Chris Thorgesen. (Emily Files)

Owner Chris Thorgesen. (Emily Files)

“Well I had just heard around town that there wasn’t any gyms,” said owner Chris Thorgesen. “It was something that I was looking for and that the town didn’t have.”

Thorgesen has been in Haines for about two years, working as a chiropractor. That work was another motivation for opening this gym.

“‘Cause when I had my chiropractic office in Colorado, I could just say, you need to go to the gym and do X,Y, and Z. And that was sometimes easier said than done, but at least they had a place to go,” Thorgesen said. “Whereas here, if I tell them to do that, they say, ‘OK, well where am I supposed to order it online or what?'”

Now when he has a patient who needs to get some more cardio, or weight training, he can send them here.

There are two membership options. One has an activation fee but a lower monthly rate, the other is a little more expensive each month, but there’s no fee to get started. Memberships range from $59/month for a single person, up to $139/month for a family.

Free weights at Thor's Fitness (Emily Files)

Free weights at Thor’s Fitness (Emily Files)

“I would say everybody’s pretty excited to have the gym opening up,” Thorgesen said. “We’ll just see whether that translates into buying memberships.”

Thorgesen says if they can get 100 members, they’ll be able to speed up building the juice bar, kids’ area, and other additions.

Right now, the gym will be open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. But as soon as they can get a security camera and other equipment installed, Thor’s will open 24/7. Members would have key code to access the building.

“What could happen, this is Haines, right?” Thorgensen said.

He says a lot of what happens with Thor’s Fitness next depends on community feedback. There’s a box for suggestions at the gym.