Jack Wolfskin to support Eric Larsen’s POLAR ACADEMY 2024 Scholarship honoring Matthew Henson

November 1, 2023

The Academy will offer full scholarships to Eric Larsen's polar training course in northern Minnesota for six BIPOC individuals in January 2024.

IDSTEIN, Germany /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Polar adventurer and expedition guide Eric Larsen, along with Jack Wolfskin, a world-renowned outdoor apparel, equipment, and footwear company, are pleased to announce their first annual BIPOC Polar Scholarship. The scholarship will cover all expenses for the participation of six BIPOC individuals in Eric’s Level 1 Polar Training Course on Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota. Based out of a remote cabin, this eight-day course equips participants with the skills and safety knowledge required when preparing for modern-day polar travel. The course will have participants complete a ‘mini’ expedition on Lake of the Woods, MN. For scholarship recipients, all the necessary gear, equipment, travel costs, and course fees will be provided, thanks to a generous donation from Jack Wolfskin.

“This course is about training the next generation of polar adventurers and expedition guides while removing any barriers to participation,” commented Eric Larsen. “Equally important, the scholarship highlights the rich history of African Americans in the annals of polar exploration, namely Matthew Henson, who was an integral team member in Robert Peary’s North Pole expedition attempts in the early 1900s”.

Larsen, an accomplished polar adventurer and mountaineer, looks forward to bringing his decades of experience to the course to help guide the next generation of explorers. Larsen has completed more North and South Pole expeditions than any other American in history and was the first and only person to successfully complete expeditions to the South Pole, North Pole, and the summit of Mount Everest in a continuous 365-day period in 2010. Additionally, Larsen completed a human-powered full (from land) North Pole expedition.

The Polar Academy and scholarship program has taken several years of planning, community outreach, and committee selection. The training committee will be co-led by Emily Ford, a Minnesota winter adventurer and dog musher, and two prior polar training participants, Eric Cedeno and Danica Carey. An additional committee member will include Rohan Freeman, who grew up in Jamaica and was the first African American to climb the Seven Summits. This group of four individuals will form the selection committee, deciding the six winners for this year’s Polar Scholarship based on a variety of criteria.

In recent years, Larsen has overcome a recent battle with stage 3B colorectal cancer and has been working with Jack Wolfskin to develop a winter expedition clothing line. The German-based manufacturer is stepping up to assist with clothing and financial support for scholarships in the Polar Academy.

“We feel lucky to be able to partner with an experienced and thoughtful professional like Eric for the Polar Training Academy.” Said Brad Potts, Director of Brand and Creation. “From a product standpoint, this is another step in our development process, but more importantly, Jack Wolfskin is committed to making the outdoors inclusive for all and opening doors for different routes to “discovery” and ventures outdoors.”

For participants interested in attending, details are listed below:

Deadline to apply: December 1st, 2023

Scholarship winners will be announced: December 8th, 2023

Course Dates: January 20th, 2024 – January 28th, 2024

The Polar Academy is made possible through gear and equipment contributions from Fischer Skis, Uvex, OneWay, Baffin, Therm-a-Rest, MSR, Stanley, and Seirus Innovation. To learn more about the scholarship and apply, please visit http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/scholarship/.

About Jack Wolfskin

Jack Wolfskin is one of the leading providers of premium quality outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment in Europe and the largest franchisor in the sports retail market in Germany. Jack Wolfskin products are currently available in more than 490 Jack Wolfskin stores and at over 4,000 points of sale worldwide. Jack Wolfskin products are renowned for their optimized functionality, high quality, and exceptional innovation. In recent years, the specialist outdoor brand has captured a large share of the market with numerous new products and materials. Jack Wolfskin is also a pioneer of the first order regarding sustainability. The company has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation since 2010 and was awarded FWF Leader status seven times. Jack Wolfskin is also a bluesign® system partner since 2011. The company is headquartered in Idstein, in the Taunus region of Germany, and currently employs over 1,440 people worldwide.