I'm amazed at the lengths Helly Hansen go to test their clothing - and themselves - to extremes
The Oslofjord has been completely frozen over this winter for the first time in 50 years, I’m told. For most of the last month the daytime temperatures in Oslo have rarely strugged above -19°C.
Which means that Norwegian outdoor clothing manufacturers Helly Hansen have the perfect extreme cold weather proving ground right on their doorstep – as I discovered this week.
On Wednesday evening I went cross-country skiing with Karl-Einer Jensen and Tor Jenssen from Helly Hansen, along with solo sailor Hannah White (foreground), Gael Pawson from Yachts & Yachting and PR Alice Driscoll.
My main purpose was to find out more about the women’s sailing clothing Helly Hansen are making, and how they are working with Hannah White to improve them for an offshore environment. Hannah, you remember, did the OSTAR this year in a Class 40.
There’s no doubt the Helly guys and girls live the outdoor life – and why wouldn’t they? They have some of the world’s most beautiful sailing on their doorstep and in winter they can drive 20 minutes into the hills behind Oslo to enjoy 1,600km of prepared cross country ski trails.
You can even give it a go after work, as we did: there are 90km of lit runs within striking distance of the city centre. What a life!
The most extreme example of living the brand I’ve ever come across is embodied by CEO Peter Sjølander. Instead of giving him a present for his 50th birthday, his friends put down bets on whether he could complete a series of endurance sports challenges this year. If he does, he collects.
To win, Sjølander has to finish a 86km skating race, the 90km Vasaloppet cross country ski race, a 300km bike race and top it off with the New York Marathon in November.
Testing to the limit in all senses.