Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival 2017

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival

January 20-22nd, 2017

Contact: Michael Hatch | EOU Outdoor Adventure Program Coordinator
541-962-3621 (office); 208.994.8640(cell)
E-mail: mhatch@eou.edu | Website: www.eou.edu/outdoor

The annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is taking place at locations in La Grande and Anthony Lakes, Jan.20-22nd, 2017. The event is being sponsored by the Outdoor Adventure Program, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, and Wallowa Avalanche Center. Activities will kick-off with the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival at 7:00 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20th.

All the events on Saturday and Sunday are free to attend and participate in. We will be raising funds for the Wallowa Avalanche Center (WAC) at the Backcountry Film Festival on Friday night through a raffle and auction, and we want people to know that even small donations can make a big difference in helping us promote safe and informed decision-making in the backcountry. We have received tremendous support from the community and local businesses! Here are a few of the FANTASTIC auction items being offered:

  • A whitewater rafting trip from Winding Waters River Expeditions
  • Backcountry ski trip at one of the legendary Wallowa Alpine Huts
  • DaKine Avalanche Airbag Pack
  • Black Diamond skis from Wallowa Alpine Huts
  • Wallowa Mountains Scenic Flight
  • One of Paul Arentsen’s world-renowned Adirondack-style ski chairs
  • Great outdoor gear from Blue Mountain Outfitters and Mountain Works of La Grande
  • Gift certificates to local restaurants like Ten Depot
  • Beautiful Wallowa Mountains Painting
  • Pair of Dynafit Bindings

The film festival attracts submissions from renowned producers searching backcountry corners across the globe, to grassroots filmmakers equipped with video cameras on weekend excursions.  Check out film shorts by KGB Productions, Dogy Down Productions, and much more. For a list of film offerings, click HERE.

Food and beverages including good beer will by available for purchase. The event is being catered by Benchwarmers Pub and Grill. A special thanks goes out to Benchwarmers for donating their services to this great cause.

EOU’s Alumni Association is teaming up with the Outdoor Adventure 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. This is a great event for alumni and the community to join EOU students in a series of full-filled weekend events.

On Saturday, events will move to Anthony Lakes for the Kip Rand Memorial Uphill/Downhill Race starting at 8 a.m. The race has prizes for the winners, both male and female categories. THE OVERALL WINNERS WILL RECEIVE A 2017/2018 SEASON PASS TO ANTHONY LAKES! Racers should register at the retail shop in the lodge 15 minutes before the race and have a beacon,shovel, and probe. Download the race course map here (PDF).

An avalanche companion rescue clinic lead by EOU Outdoor Adventure Program Coordinator Michael Hatch and WAC staff, will follow at 10 a.m.  This clinic will focus on 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, Michael Hatch and other WAC staff in the afternoon will spend time in the Anthony Lakes backcountry demonstrating skills and tests useful in identifying unstable layers and their subsequent sensitivity to human triggering.

Then, after the clinics, kick back with a cold one in the world famous Starbottle Saloon and dance to Bag of Hammers from 3-6pm. Additional raffle items will be up for grabs at Anthony Lakes on Saturday with the winners being called out during the band’s intermission.

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 are looking forward to this year’s festival and providing a fun event for local and regional backcountry skiers and snowboarders!!

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

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Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival schedule:

Friday, Jan. 20 – Art Center, 1006 Penn Ave,  La Grande

7 – 9 p.m. – Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival

*Event will be catered by Benchwarmers Pub and Grill with good micro beers available for purchase.

*Raffle with great winter gear prizes and recreational packages from local retailers.

*Free to EOU students.  $5 admission at the door.  Raffle tickets 1 for $2 or 3 for $5.

Saturday, Jan.21 – Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

8 a.m. – Kip Rand Memorial Uphill/Downhill Race. Arrive 15 minutes early to register for race at the EOBF booth located in front of the bottom floor of the main lodge.  All participants must sign a release waiver and carry avalanche safety gear. Registration is FREE.

10 a.m. – Avalanche Companion Rescue Clinic at Anthony Lakes. (Meet at EOBF booth outside the lower level of the lodge)

1 p.m. – Avalanche Basics Clinic: snow profiles and stability tests in the AL backcountry.(Meet at EOBF booth outside the lower level of the lodge)

3-6 p.m. – Live music in the afternoon at the Starbottle Saloon with Bag of Hammers

Sunday, Jan. 22 – Elkhorn Mountains

Self-organized free touring day in the Anthony Lakes backcountry. (Contact OAP coordinator, Michael Hatch to make bc tour arrangements)

Social Sunday – Ski tour and social media photo contest. Winner receives a Mountain Khakis gift certificate.

On Sunday we are encouraging all participants to get out into the mountains with friends and explore the beautiful backcountry of the Elkhorns. There will be a prize for the photo (taken on Sunday, Jan. 22nd) that receives the most “Likes” on the EOU Outdoor Adventure Program Facebook page.

About the instructor:

Michael Hatch is the Outdoor Adventure Program Coordinator and an Instructor of Physical Activity and Health at Eastern Oregon University.  He is also Lead Forecaster for the Wallowa Avalanche Center.  Michael is an AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 Course Leader, and Professional Member of the American Avalanche Association.

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