The the world-renowned Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) and Mondetta Performance Gear (MPG) have a lot in common. They both thrive in a space of creativity and innovation, and have a reputation of excellence within their respective industries. However, some would argue that their shared geographic location is the most distinctive similarity; Winnipeg, Canada. Both companies are founded and based here – rated one of the coldest cities in the world!
Dancing in a Winter Wonderland
Get Moving in Jackets Designed for Living Winter to the Fullest
Coined “Winter-peg” by its residents, the winter season isn’t just cold in Winnipeg, it can be downright ruthless. Situated on the Canadian Prairies, temperatures as low as minus 45 °C (or minus 49 °F) are not uncommon during the months of December and January. This “winter city” offers the perfect setting for outerwear that needs to perform. That’s why all MPG jackets are proudly designed and tested here. We understand extreme conditions and use this lived experience to create the ultimate collection of outerwear. Weatherproof fabrics, impeccable construction, technical details and intuitive features come together to provide maximum warmth and enhanced range of motion. Essentially, we believe in living winter to the fullest and create the technical outerwear to do so.
The MPG archives are filled with collections based on insights from top athletes and our outerwear is no exception. So, we teamed up with Canada’s oldest ballet company, the RWB, to test out our brand-new parkas from the Winter’18 collection. Katie Bonnell and Josh Reynolds, both professional dancers, demonstrate that our down filled jackets are made for movement and designed to let you thrive, not just survive, in the cold. After all, life doesn’t stop just because it’s winter.
Q & A with Professional Dancers;
Q – Where are you from originally & how long have you lived in Winnipeg?
Katie – I am originally from Oakville, Ontario. I moved to Winnipeg in 2008 to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and am now celebrating 10 years living here!
Josh – I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia, where most of my family still lives. This is my 4th year working for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and living in Canada.
Q – What does dancing with the RWB mean to you?
K – Dancing with the RWB is honestly a dream come true. I was almost 17 when I left my family behind and moved to Winnipeg to train at the school. 17 is quite old for a female to begin their professional level training so I knew the odds of making it as a ballet dancer were stacked against me. I will never forget the day I was asked to join the company as an apprentice. It was one of the best moments of my life.
J – Working for such a prestigious and historic company has truly been a joy. Winnipeg is extremely lucky to have this company call its city home. Just being in the building and studios with all the classic posters and plaques, seeing all the famous dancers and choreographers who have walked these halls, really gives you a feeling of pride. knowing you are a small part of this amazing company is truly special.
Q – Where can you be found when you’re not dancing?
K – When I'm not dancing, I can often be found in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking (I have a serious sweet tooth). I also love going out for dinner and drinks with friends and trying new restaurants.
J – When I am not dancing, I can be found at home with my wife (Principal Dancer, Jo-Ann Sundermeier) our dog Georgia and our baby girl Ayla. Just enjoying our time off and venturing out in the city. Even in the harsh winter, there are plenty of exciting and fun things to do as a family.
Q – How do you feel about winter in Winnipeg (rated one of the coldest cities in the world)?
K – Winter here is very different from winter back at home. I grew up near Lake Ontario, so I was used to experiencing a “damp cold” and having a chill that sinks into your bones. In Winnipeg, it’s the wind that gets you. It’s bitterly cold and if you don’t layer up and cover as much skin as possible, you’re going to feel it.
J – Winter in Winnipeg can be extremely difficult. When I was younger, I trained in cities such as Philadelphia and New York, so snow is nothing new to me, but the extreme wind and temperatures is a whole other beast. Thankfully, the city is equipped to handle the snow and ice very quickly and it doesn't really stop our day-to-day needs. The amount of extra time it takes just to leave or enter the house, especially with an infant, can be rough. Cleaning off the car from the snow and ice can be frustrating, especially in -40-degree weather. I have come to find though, like all creatures in this world, we all adapt to our environment and it becomes something that we manage and don't even think about that often.
Q – The winter season can last for 6 months here. How do you ward off the winter blues?
K – I try to stay active and spend time with friends to ward off the winter blues. I find hot yoga especially helps because it feels like you’re somewhere hot rather than in Winter-peg! I also try to get outside when the sun is out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Vitamin D from the sun is so much better than the supplement!
J – My family is the best cure for the winter blues. There are so many things to do in Winnipeg during the cold months, both indoor and out, for families and individuals that it becomes quite exciting. Walking or skating on the river, drinks and dinner in the exchange district, concerts, festivals, museums etc. Winnipeg really does a great job in making the city feel just as vibrant and interesting when its freezing as it does when its sunny and warm. Also, just sitting at home by the fire with a book or watching a series with my girls...can't imagine anything better.
Q – Why is a comfortable, durable and ultra-warm winter parka important to your lifestyle?
K – I live and work downtown so I don’t really need a car. I walk most places, including to and from work every day. Having a good winter jacket is critical to surviving the long Winnipeg winters.
J – Life doesn't slow down for winter here, so investing in outerwear is always a first priority. In the winter, you basically live in your jacket, so making sure that one parka can do it all is exactly what my life needs. Having a winter jacket that is comfortable, durable and stylish is huge!
Q – What do you love about the MPG winter parkas you modeled?
K – I can’t believe how warm the MPG jackets are! The Blizzard Parka is especially lightweight, so I wasn’t expecting it to keep the heat in and the wind out as well as it does. I also love the extension of the sleeves with the thumbholes and the side zipper detailing.
J – I would have to say my favorite thing about the Icecap Parka was everything! Sounds silly but it is true. This parka is not only amazingly warm but also fits great and stays close to my body to keep out the harsh winds. You can tell it is going to last a long time and always do the job.