THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Polartec has set the winners of its annual Challenge Grant, an international program aimed at encouraging the spirit and practice of human-powered outdoor adventure. Four separate adventures will receive $5,000 in funding and support from Polartec for 2013. Agnieszka and Mateusz Waligora will attempt a 1,200-mile, three-desert bicycle traverse of the rugged Canning Stock Route in Australia, and raise awareness about the aboriginal history of the regions covered, while Meghan Kelly, Pip Hunt, Nat Segal, McKenna Peterson, Karissa Tuthill and Martha Hunt will attempt to ski first descents in Greenland via a sailboat from Iceland. Amber Valenti, Rebecca Dennis and Sabra Purdy will embark on a 2,700-mile source-to-sea expedition on the Amur River through three countries in southern Siberia as a living reminder of what’s been lost by damming, and as a celebration of wild places that still exist, and Alexander Martin and a team of fellow adventurers will cross Asia using bikes and paddles to tell stories of the people and places traveled through, and inspire others to human-powered travel and river conservation.

“Since 1991, Polartec has assisted some of the world’s greatest athletes and explorers who rely on our products and put them to the ultimate test,” said Allon Cohne, Polartec’s global director of marketing. “Polartec engineers fabrics designed for performance in all climates, from lightweight next-to-skin layers to innovative insulation and breathable waterproof protection.”

In addition to the grant money, all of this year’s Polartec Challenge winners will be outfitted with Polartec garments, designed to keep them warm, dry and comfortable in the harshest of climates.

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