It’s Great Out There Coalition Member Showcase Helly Hansen

Questions answered by Michael Uhl, VP Marketing and Brand Partnerships, Helly Hansen

Norwegian brand Helly Hansen is known around the world and has been active for almost 150 years. The company hasn’t been involved in the It’s Great Out There Coalition for quite that long, but has been a very proactive member since deciding to join in 2021. We’ve collaborated on some exciting and imaginative projects between then and now, and there’s more on the way, starting with Open Mountain Month in June. Ahead of a busy summer, we caught up with Michael Uhl, Helly Hansen’s Vice President for Marketing and Brand Partnerships.

Can you briefly introduce your brand?

At Helly Hansen, we enable life-enhancing experiences between people and the power of nature. Founded in Norway in 1877, Helly Hansen continues to develop professional grade apparel that helps people stay and feel alive. Helly Hansen is a leader in technical sailing and performance ski apparel, as well as premium workwear. Its uniforms are worn and trusted by more than 55,000 professionals and can be found on Olympians, national teams, and at more than 200 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations globally.

Why did your brand join the Coalition?

We make professional grade gear to help people stay and feel alive, and to Helly Hansen, truly feeling alive is the feeling you get when you’re on top of a mountain or in the middle of the sea. This feeling has shaped our brand for more than 140 years. Joining the It’s Great Out There Coalition has been an exciting way to share our mutual appreciation and respect for the outdoors with new audiences we may not have reached before.

What is your brand’s vision for the outdoors?

While much of our inspiration comes from our professionals and how they experience the outdoors, we truly believe that the outdoors are for everyone to enjoy. We believe in the power of spending time outside and aim to support the confidence and trust needed to venture outdoors through the products we create and stories we tell. This coming June, we will roll out Open Mountain Month – an initiative with one clear goal: to inspire and enable people to get outdoors. Open Mountain Month is for seasoned outdoor-goers and novices alike and aims to encourage all people to experience the power of spending time outside. Throughout the month, Helly Hansen will draw on the expertise of search and rescue partners, professionals, and brand ambassadors to both educate and inspire outdoor experiences. We’re excited to team up with the coalition for this month to communicate our message and stories with new communities.

Do you have a story you want to share with us about an outdoor adventure you organised for staff or local communities?

As a company built by outdoor enthusiasts, we are always looking for ways to connect our internal community, as well as communities at large, with the professionals we work with. One partner we are thrilled to be supporting this season is Team JAJO, a professional sailing team currently taking part in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup. During a stopover in Oslo, we will have the unique opportunity to send two Helly Hansen employees with Team JAJO on their VO65 race boat from Oslo to Aarhus. The employees will spend two days and a night on the boat, experiencing the life of a professional racer. Last year, we also had a fantastic experience working alongside the #itsgreatoutthere campaign to support We Go Outside Too, helping provide outdoor experiences to underprivileged young people in the UK.

Can you tell us something about your personal relationship to the outdoors?

Spending time outdoors has been a part of my life since an early age. My parents were passionate sailors and we spent our summer vacations on a boat in the Swedish archipelagos. In winter, we switched to skiing in the Alps. I was fortunate to have access to a variety of activities which I considered to be part of everyday life. It is humbling and inspiring to now be in a position and with a company where I can truly make a positive impact on the outdoor spaces I recreate in and the communities surrounding them, through the products and partnerships we create. The more people we can encourage and educate to experience the power of spending time outside, the more advocates for the outdoors are born.