Eastern Oregon University > Outdoor Adventure Program > Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival 2020

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival 2020

February 7-9th, 2020

THIS YEAR’S EVENT RAISED OVER $7000 FOR THE WALLOWA AVALANCHE CENTER! A huge thanks to all our local and corporate sponsors. To our community – we offer our sincerest gratitude for making this the biggest and best festival yet. 

The annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is taking place at locations in Baker City and Anthony Lakes, Feb. 7-9th, 2020. The event is being sponsored by the Outdoor Adventure Program, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, and Wallowa Avalanche Center. Activities will kick-off at Lefty’s Taphouse in Baker City with the new Teton Gravity Research film Fire on the Mountain at 7:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7th. Doors open at 6:00pm.

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 film showing 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.

Food and beverages including good beer by Barley Browns will by available for purchase. A special thanks goes out to this year’s local festival sponsors: Hines Meat Co, Winding Waters River Expeditions, Old West Credit Union, Blue Mountain Outfitters, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, BCA, Black Diamond, Dakine, NW Alpine, Quality Inn in Baker City, and HMK for their support.

We have received tremendous support from the community and local businesses! Here are a few of the FANTASTIC auction items that we’ll have this year:

  • Beacon, shovel, and probe package from Black Diamond
  • Cirque 30 backpack from Black Diamond
  • BCA Float avalanche airbag backpack
  • Dakine backpacks and swag
  • Line “Chronic” skis
  • Great outdoor gear from Blue Mountain Outfitters of La Grande
  • Gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses
  • Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort lift tickets and season pass
  • Black Spyder Hoodie from NW Alpine Gear
  • Winding Waters River Expeditions swag
  • HMK goggles, avalanche rescue shovels, and swag
  • Barley Brown hats, stickers, mugs, and more.
♦ Saturday, Feb. 8th Events
On Saturday, events will move to Anthony Lakes for the Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race starting at 8 a.m. The race has prizes for the winners, both male and female categories. THE OVERALL WINNERS WILL RECEIVE A 2020/2021 SEASON PASS TO ANTHONY LAKES or $150 CASH PRIZE. Racers MUST check-in at the EOBF tent outside the main lodge 15 minutes before the race and have a beacon,shovel, and probe. Download the race course map here (PDF).

Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race Registration HERE

It is important to note: All race participants must use the same backcountry gear and set-ups they start the race with. Any racer who switches out or changes equipment with other gear not worn at the beginning of the race will be disqualified.

An avalanche companion rescue clinic lead by 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.  At 1pm, WAC staff will spend time in the Anthony Lakes backcountry demonstrating skills and tests useful in identifying unstable layers and their subsequent sensitivity to human triggering. Sign up for these clinics at the EOBF tent outside the main lodge. Participants MUST check-in at the EOBF tent outside the main lodge 15 minutes before the clinic.


Then, after the clinics, kick back with a cold one in the world famous Starbottle Saloon and dance to Dr. J and the Easyriders 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.



♦ Sunday, Feb. 9th Events

On Sunday, skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to self-organize trips to the backcountry of Anthony Lakes to explore the Elkhorn Mountains in winter. The OAP Director and the WAC Director, Michael Hatch and Victor McNeil will be leading a tour group into Angel Basin. To join them, meet at A-Lakes lodge (lower-level) at 9am w/ touring and snow safety gear.


We are pleased to offer a 15% discount on accommodations at Quality Inn in Baker City if you need a place to stay during the festival. You can reach Quality Inn at 541-423-6444 or visit register directly at http://www.qualityinn.com/ires/en-US/html/ArrivalInfo?hotel=OR294&srp=LEOU&pu=no

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

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.

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival schedule:

Friday, Feb. 7th – Lefty’s Taphouse, Baker City

7 – 9 p.m. – TGR’s new film Fire on the Mountain. Doors open at 6:00pm. Film starts promptly at 7pm.

*Event will have good micro beers from Barley Browns and Lefty’s has pizza and food downstairs available for purchase.

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

*$5 for students with valid ID.  $10 admission at the door. Kids under 12 get in free. Raffle tickets 1 for $2 or 3 for $5.

Saturday, Feb. 8th – Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

8 a.m. – Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race. Arrive 15 minutes early to check-in for race at the EOBF tent located outside of the main lodge.  All participants must sign a release waiver and carry avalanche safety gear. Registration is required.

10 a.m. – Avalanche Companion Rescue Clinic at Anthony Lakes. (Meet at EOBF tent outside south of the rental shop)

1 p.m. – Avalanche Basics Clinic: snow profiles and stability tests in the AL backcountry.(Meet at EOBF tent south of the rental shop)

3-6 p.m. – Live music in the afternoon at the Starbottle Saloon with Dr. J and the Easyriders.

Sunday, Feb. 9th – Elkhorn Mountains

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

Social Sunday – Ski tour and social media photo contest. Winner receives an OAP or WAC trucker’s hat.

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, Feb. 9th) that receives the most “Likes” on the Outdoor Adventure Program Facebook page, HERE.

About the instructors:

Michael Hatch is the Outdoor Adventure Program Director and an Instructor of Health and Human Performance at Eastern Oregon University. He is a 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.

Victor McNeil is the Director of the Wallowa Avalanche Center and lead forecaster. He is an AIARE Level 1 Instructor. This last year Victor gained his IFMGA certification, which is the highest guide certification available. He guides internationally for Alpine Ascents and frequents high haunts in Alaska, South America, and beyond.

Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race Results for 2/8/20

The winners for the men’s and women’s division are Mark Hauter and Raphaela Hsh-Flanders. Congratulations race winners and to all the race contestants. 

1. Mark Hauter – 42:25  2. Aaron Maxwell – 44:53  3. John Orland – 52:38  4. Bayden Menton – 53:30  

5. Logan Mitchell – 54:55  6. John Grieser – 57:06  7. Evan Halladay – 105:04. 8. Kuba Povey – 105:30.

9. Raphaela Hsh-Flanders – 113:45  10. Mike Losh – 118:31 ****All other racers did not complete the course. 

Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race Results – 1/28/19

1. Devin Calvin – 35:53  2. Mark Hauter – 38:44  3. Allan Ottman – 39:50  4. Devin Platt – 39:52

5. James Spiess – 40:18  6. Eric Griffith – 40:59  7. Joe Blatelford – 42:38  8. John Postlewaite – 43:07

9. Jessica Barker – 43:18  10. Kirsten Johnson – 44:16  11. Ron Pickens – 44:32  12. Danny O’Neal – 46:40

13. Lyra Pierotti – 50:04. 14. Colby Heideman – 50:14  15. Somer Morris – 50:23  16. Eric Rannestad – 51:46

17. Patrick Baird – 56:21. 18.  Lydia Petroske – 58:38