Winnipeggers: I Need Your Winter Wisdom

November 26th, 2014 by Emma Durand-Wood

“Why would I be cold?”

That’s what my wise yoga instructor said as she zipped up her snowpants, getting ready to head back out into the cold after an hour of blissfully cozy restorative yoga. A group of us were chatting about proper winter gear and agreed that when you have nice, warm, functional outerwear, winter isn’t all that awful. Sure you could put on the bare minimum, but why would you want to, when you could actually be more or less warm if you dressed properly?

This discussion prompted me to admit to myself that I really did need a new winter coat, and to get myself a pair a snowpants, which I haven’t worn since I was, oh, probably 10 years old. Now that I think of it, other than my trusty winter boots, I haven’t upgraded much of my winter wear since moving to Winnipeg, and really, stuff that worked in Vancouver just doesn’t cut it out here. Last week, I got myself some nice, semi-stylish Thinsulate mittens and so far, so good, though I suspect once winter is REALLY here I’ll probably be wearing thin gloves under those babies, too. And I need some long underwear. I hear that silk ones are really comfy.

My yoga instructor’s comment has been with me all week, reminding me to ask myself, why would I be cold, when I could be, well, NOT cold?

So, what advice can you give me on saying “hellz no” to being cold?

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The other day it took me a solid 10 minutes to scrape the thick, smooth ice off my windshield. Pathetically, my arms and ribs are still a bit achy from the effort.  Is this inevitable? Or is there some sort of magic tool that actually makes this easier? Are those brass scrapers really better than the hard plastic ones? What are your experiences? As my family’s designated car-cleaner-offer I need all the ideas I can get.

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Also, now that our master plan to convince everyone we know to move to Glenelm is nearing completion, we are spending a lot more time outside walking to others’ houses. My poor kids’ faces are going to be frostbitten in no time. Where do I get those stretchy balaclava masks where only the eyes are exposed?? (I also have my eye on Smittens – mittens that kids can’t take off.) Parents – what are your suggestions for kids’ outerwear that cuts the mustard during Winnipeg winters?

5 Responses to “Winnipeggers: I Need Your Winter Wisdom”

  1. Danielle says:

    Sorry I can’t help with the kids stuff, we’re expecting our first in march.

    For the car, the “magic solution” is command start. It wouldn’t be a big deal if you had a garage (esp. Heated), but if you park outside its a lifesaver. Once you have one, you won’t go back. Just start your car a good 7 or 8 (or more) min before you leave. I don’t know what the after market prices are like on the new cars, but I think it’s around $500 for the more finicky installations (immobilizer or manual transmission).

    With thick ice, the layer closest to the windshield will melt, and then the ice will fall off or at least come off easilier. The other thing command start works well for is frozen locks and doors. It’ll melt the ice holding the door shut. Just remember to keep the heat in the car on high when you leave.

    If your running your car for more than 10 min on the command start, you’ll probably need to start it a second time, most automatically shut off after 10 min. And if you use the command start 3 times in a row, it’ll stop working after that, that’s so you have to get in and make sure the tanks not empty.

  2. Sox says:

    My advice -always make sure to plug in your car. Cold starts are very hard on the engine and the car will warm up faster (I think command start is bad for the environment, even tho’ it is convenient). I’ve seen frostblocker windshield covers but I have no idea how well they work.
    As for keeping you warm -wool. Warmer than synthetics and cotton, and wool, unlike synthetics, doesn’t retain odors. I have found some lovely wool t-shirts at Costco and warm wool sweaters at thrift stores. MEC may have wool balaclavas.
    Wear layers; close fitting ones closer to your skin and looser ones on top. If you wear liners in your new mitts, make sure the mitts don’t become too tight or they will be colder than the mitts alone.
    If you can afford them, wind- and water- resistant down coats with a good hood are marvelous.
    I have friends in Glen Elm -they think it’s marvelous too.

  3. derick says:

    Layers! Snug moisture-wicking base layer below (silk is probably ok. Mine is synthetic) warm layer over that (wool, etc) then whatever else you need on top.

    Mark’s Work Warehouse, or MEC for base layers& balaclavas.

  4. Epic Escape says:

    One thing that you can do to to stay out of the cold is to come visit our new Room Escape- EPIC ESCAPE – located in the exchange!
    Would love to have you and friends out!
    https://www.facebook.com/EpicEscapeWpg

  5. Jeff says:

    For the car that has to live outdoors an in-car heater is the hot setup. Installed under the dash and controlled with a timer along with the block heater, you will never have to scrape again. Email me if you have any questions, I’m in Glenelm too.

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