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This article was published 31/1/2018 (973 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NFL star quarterback Russell Wilson may be known more for finding receivers and evading tackles while leading the Seattle Seahawks to its first Super Bowl victory in 2013, but on Tuesday he was sliding on Lake Winnipeg in a Mercedes-Benz.
Wilson, and his wife R&B singer Ciara, best known for the hit single Goodies, were invited guests at the AMG Driving Academy Canada in Gimli earlier this week.
And, after spending the day driving on the ice, they then ate on the ice at the Raw:almond pop-up restaurant set up on the frozen Assiniboine River in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
The couple flew in Monday, participated in the academy's driving instruction courses culminating in going behind the wheel on its special track built on the lake ice, and then flew out early Wednesday, said Danny Kok, AMG's lead instructor.
"They had a complete ride," Kok said.
"And they are super, super nice people to boot... and they had a real Canadian winter (Tuesday). Poor visibility and blowing snow."
Wilson can be heard laughing on video while saying, "It's snowing. It's crazy out here — too much fun," as the wind howls in the background and blowing snow at times partially obscures some of the vehicles just metres away.
The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy on Lake Winnipeg bills itself as the place to drive Mercedes-AMG vehicles in "the harshest winter conditions Canada has to offer".
According to Environment Canada, Gimli's temperature on Tuesday afternoon was between -8 C and -11 C, but with the wind gusting up to 49 km/h, the wind chill made it feel between -16 and -23.
"You'll see how much fun they had if you go to their Twitter and Instagram sites," Kok said.
But as well as having a blast, both Wilson and Ciara are now better prepared anytime they get behind the wheel of a vehicle, Kok added.
"You have a lot of fun, but you also become a far better driver. It's very controlled. You don't have to worry about oncoming traffic — and no ditches," he said.
"You can't really practice on the street. The first practice is usually when you need to use these skills."
Later, in Winnipeg, the couple were two of 40 patrons who dined on the ice at Raw:almond.
Mandel Hitzer, co-founder of Raw:almond and owner and chef of deer+almond, said he didn't even know the couple was dining at the restaurant until the restaurant's photographer alerted him.
"I won't lie — there's a lot of football fans in Winnipeg and some of the chefs were pretty excited," Hitzer said.
"They (Wilson and Ciara) had a great time. They were very excited to come to Winnipeg to this very unique experience of dining on the ice."
The couple were with 16 other guests of Mercedes-Benz, while the other 22 patrons on Tuesday night were just regular Winnipeggers who happened to book their reservations for that time at the sold out restaurant weeks ago, Hitzer said.
Andrea Carlson, chef and owner of Vancouver's Burdock and Co., served up a special West Coast dining experience.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.
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