Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival
Contact: Jerry Isaak | EOU Outdoor Program Coordinator
541-962-3621 (office); 541-910-2021 (cell)
E-mail: email@example.com | Website: www.eou.edu/outdoor
The annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is taking place at locations in La Grande and Joseph, Feb. 14-16.
Activities will kick-off with an avalanche awareness presentation at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb.14.
Festival organizer Jerry Isaak will lead the one-hour session in the Gilbert Center at Eastern Oregon University.
Isaak is the coordinator of EOU’s Outdoor Program, a student and community resource for rental equipment, classes and guided trips. He is also a member of the Wallowa Avalanche Center’s board of directors. Now in its second year, the festival raises money to support the center.
“All the events are free to attend and participate in,” Isaak explained. “We will be raising funds for the avalanche center through raffles, and we want people to know that even small donations can make a big difference to a local non-profit that serves the communities of northeastern Oregon.”
Following the avalanche awareness session is the highly regarded Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival starting at 7 p.m., also in the Gilbert Center.
The film festival attracts submissions from renowned producers searching backcountry corners across the globe, to grassroots filmmakers equipped with video cameras on weekend excursions.
On Saturday, events will move to the Ferguson Ridge Ski Area in Joseph with an Uphill/Downhill Race starting at 9 a.m. The race has a cowboy theme with prizes for the best dressed racing cowboy or cowgirl.
Backcountry related clinics follow at 10 a.m.
Later in the afternoon, events shift locations again to the Salt Creek Summit Sno-Park where participants will have the opportunity to practice rescue skills and learn from experienced avalanche educators at the Beacon Training Park.
On Sunday, skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to self-organize trips to the backcountry of the Eagle Cap Wilderness to explore the Wallowa Mountains in winter.
“We are looking forward to this year’s festival and hoping to raise money for the avalanche center, as well as provide a fun event for local and regional backcountry skiers and snowboarders,” Isaak said.
Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival schedule:
Friday, Feb. 14 – Gilbert Center, EOU Campus, La Grande
5:30-6:30 p.m. – Avalanche Awareness Presentation
7 p.m. – Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival
Saturday, Feb 15 – Ferguson Ridge Ski Area, Joseph
9 a.m. – Uphill/Downhill Race (prizes for best cowboy/cowgirl costume)
10 a.m. – Backcountry Clinics at Ferguson Ridge
1 p.m. – Companion Rescue and Backcountry Clinics at Salt Creek Summit Sno-Park
Backcountry Clinics start at 1:00 pm – at the Salt Creek Summit SnoPark
Avalanche Companion Rescue: Instructor: TBA
This clinic will use the Salt Creek Summit Beacon Park to aid in teaching and practicing avalanche companion rescue. Beacon’s and probes will be provided if you do not have your own.
Uphill touring tips and tricks: Instructor: Jerry Isaak
This clinic will introduce participants to techniques for more efficient uphill travel. Learn how to perfect a kick-turn, set an uphill track, and manage challenging terrain problems efficiently.
About the instructor:
Jerry Isaak is the Outdoor Program Coordinator and an Adjunct Instructor of Physical Education and Sport at Eastern Oregon University. He has been a ski instructor in Canada and Austria and has completed the American Mountain Guides Association Aspirant Ski Guide course and exam. Jerry is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association and has Level 3 Avalanche certification and instructs the PES198 Avalanche Fundamentals, Processes and Leadership course at EOU.
Sunday, Feb. 16 – Wallowa Mountains
Self-organized free touring day in the Eagle Cap Wilderness
Social Sunday – Ski tour and social media photo contest.
On Sunday we are encouraging all participants to get out into the mountains with friends and explore the beautiful backcountry of the Elkhorns or Wallowas. There will be a prize for the photo (taken on Sunday, Feb. 16th) that receives the most “Likes” on the Wallowa Avalanche Center Facebook page.