UK couple wins Breckenridge Experience of a Lifetime

UK Prize winners at Breckenridge

Helly Hansen and Blacks, a popular European sporting goods store, teamed up last fall to give away a week long Breckenridge Experience of a Lifetime ski vacation.

More than 16,000 people entered the drawing online and in stores between December 1 and January 30. When Karen Crean found out she was the lucky prizewinner, the 34-year-old designer was in disbelief.

“I had to double-check the email to make sure it wasn’t friends hoaxing me,” says Crean, who entered the contest on Blacks’ website.

The prize package included a week-long ski holiday for two in Breckenridge, round-trip flights from the UK, airport transfers, ski passes, gear rentals and Helly Hansen jackets, trousers, fleece and baselayers.

Crean and her boyfriend Neil Barton, 33, arrived in Breckenridge from Rochester (Kent, UK) on March 28 and stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge, departing on April 8.

“She enters to win everything,” Barton laughs, noting that he’s not complaining and will be joining Crean on a trip to Egypt in June, which she won on a recent radio contest. The couple’s Breckenridge visit fell during the Mega Million’s lottery frenzy, when the national drawing hit a record $656 million. Crean says they purchased some tickets, but her lucky streak didn’t carry over.

Crean and Barton are pretty active, biking, hiking and typically skiing seven days a year with friends in the French Alps. They met in college and reconnected nine years later on Facebook. They’ve been to Disney World in Florida and skydived in Los Angeles, but this was their first trip to Colorado and first time skiing in the U.S.

The couple explored downtown Breckenridge, enjoying fine dining and live jazz at Blue River Bistro one evening; spent a day in Frisco, walked around Lake Dillon and took in Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Spring Fever festivities.

Crean has been skiing since she was 16, and Barton started later at 25. Both say they enjoyed the soft spring snow conditions, skiing most of Breck’s four peaks and noting how expansive the local mountains are.Helly Hansen logo

“It’s a different atmosphere here,” Barton says. “It’s more spread-out. Spring Fever is a fun scene.”

Barton and Crean skied almost every day of their trip, arriving on the mountain at 11 a.m. and skiing until the chair lifts closed at 4 p.m. Neil tried snowboarding for a few days, but went back to skis to ease his sore muscles.

The two would like to extend a gracious thank you to the resort, Helly Hansen, Blacks and the many organizers for their wonderful visit.

Helly Hansen, a renowned Norwegian outdoor clothing specialist, began supplying uniforms for all Vail employees this season, totaling around 52,000 uniforms for 15,000 mountain professionals, including patrollers, mechanics and operations staff. For more information about Helly Hansen, click here.

— Lisa Pogue