DENVER — A blogging Mormon mother of two has won the trip of a lifetime.
Amber Borowski Johnson was one of two winners recently selected in a Microsoft Office-sponsored contest to send two bloggers on a 10-day, all-expenses-paid trip to cover the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Colombia.
Johnson, who grew up in Calgary, Canada, and is a passionate skier and huge fan of the Winter Games, was hiking with a friend a few weeks ago when her cell phone rang. It was Microsoft Corp., informing her she had won a prize valued at more than $15,000.
Her first reaction was one of complete shock, then she was absolutely thrilled.
"I've been involved with the Olympics before, but never on this scale. What makes this completely overwhelming for me is that I will be working with two of the biggest brands in the world — Microsoft and the Olympics," Johnson said. "With the kind of opportunities this is going to afford me, this will be the trip of a lifetime."
Johnson's husband, Jamie, was excited for his wife until he realized he would be staying home with the kids, ages 3 and 5. Despite being left behind, he was a good sport.
"It's worthwhile. You can't pass on something like this," he said.
Johnson, the founder and editor of the Denver Post's "Mile High Mamas," family travel writer and outdoor enthusiast, learned about the contest on Twitter and went through a lengthy application process before being selected as one of 10 semifinalists by a panel of judges that included five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair. The public was invited to participate in the final selection of the bloggers by voting online.
"It was a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through," she said. "Why did they choose me? I think they liked the humor element of my writing. I like to tell about the funny misadventures and bring out the humor in everyday circumstances. The behind-the-scenes experiences could make the Olympics really fun."
Johnson and Dylan Derryberry, the other winner, were almost flown to New York for a big announcement on "The Today Show" with Matt Lauer, but the Haiti earthquake altered those plans.
When Johnson arrives in Vancouver, she will work alongside Team USA and post daily blogs at www.crazybloggincanuck.com using a brand-new laptop. She is looking forward to all the events, especially figure skating, men's hockey and skiing.
"It's exciting for me to see the games in my homeland," said Johnson, who named her 3-year-old son Bode after Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller. "Now I have a chance to share the inspiring, behind-the-scenes stories I wanted to tell."
Johnson, a BYU graduate who served as a Mormon missionary in Geneva, Switzerland, is an active member of her ward in Arvada, a suburb of Denver. She has served as a teacher for early morning seminary, in the primary presidency and is currently a young women's adviser with the Beehive class.
The 37-year-old bloggin' mama is so dedicated to her religion she recently passed on the chance to walk the red carpet and meet Brendan Fraser, one of her favorite actors, because she had committed to attend stake temple night.
"I agonized a little, but it (the temple experience) was very uplifting. I'm glad I didn't forsake the temple for Hollywood," Johnson said.
As Johnson prepares to hang out with Olympic athletes and blog about everything at the Games, there is only one thing left undone.
"Now all I need is someone to scrapbook it all for me," she said.