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Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival

Photo courtesy of Winter Wildlands Alliance

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival supports Outdoor Program

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Source contact: Michael Hatch | Outdoor Program Coordinator
541-962-3621 | mhatch@eou.edu 

February 6, 2015

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is coming to locations in La Grande and Anthony Lakes Friday through Sunday, Feb. 20-22.

Now in its third year, the event helps to support the equipment rental shop operated by the Outdoor Program at Eastern Oregon University.

“We will be raising funds through raffles, and we want people to know that even small donations can make a big difference in helping us provide students and the community of northeast Oregon with excellent outdoor gear and equipment in support of healthy lifestyles and wellness,” explained Michael Hatch, Outdoor Program coordinator.

Activities kick-off at 7 p.m. Friday with the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival at the Union County Art & Culture Center, 1006 Penn Ave. in La Grande. Admission is free for EOU students and $5 general.

The film festival attracts submissions from renowned producers searching backcountry corners across the globe, to grassroots filmmakers equipped with video cameras on weekend excursions. Screenings include shorts by Teton Gravity Research featuring snowboard athlete Jeremy Jones, and Fischer Creative featuring Dynafit athlete Eric Henerson and much more.

Food and beverages, including beer, catered by Benchwarmer’s Pub & Grill, will be available to purchase during Friday’s event.

On Saturday, events move to Anthony Lakes with an Uphill/Downhill Race starting at 8 a.m. The race has a disco theme with prizes for the winners and best-dressed racers.

In addition to serving as a student and community resource for rental equipment, classes and guided trips, Hatch is also a member of the Wallowa Avalanche Center’s board of directors and will lead an avalanche companion rescue clinic at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The clinic will focus on the proper use of avalanche gear – beacon, shovel, and probe – and how to organize and carry out an effective and efficient companion rescue. If there is additional interest, Hatch and other EOU faculty will conduct more training in the afternoon in the backcountry, demonstrating skills and tests useful in identifying unstable layers and their subsequent sensitivity to human triggering.

2015 Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival

Click thumbnail to view festival poster.

EOU’s Alumni Association is teaming up with the Outdoor Program for the festival this year, encouraging alumni to participate and take advantage of discounts on lift tickets and rentals on Saturday and Sunday. View rates at www.anthonylakes.com/travel-lodging/groups.

On Sunday, skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to self-organize trips to the backcountry of Anthony Lakes to explore the Elkhorn Mountains in winter.

“We’re looking forward to this year’s festival to raise money and provide a fun event for local and regional backcountry skiers and snowboarders,” Hatch said.

For more information contact Hatch at 541-962-3621 or mhatch@eou.edu. To learn about the Wallowa Avalanche Center visit www.wallowaavalanchecenter.org.