Eastern Oregon University > Outdoor Adventure Program > Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival 2021

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival 2021

February 6-7th, 2021

The annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is going to be a bit different this year due to the global pandemic. Instead of our annual film night and fundraiser we’ll be offering an online auction through the month of January to raise funds for the Wallowa Avalanche Center. We will also be hosting a virtual online screening of the Winter Wildlands Alliance -Backcountry Film Festival starting of Friday, Feb. 5th and going through the 21st. For Saturday, we’ve had to cancel the Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race, but we’ll still be offering several free snow safety clinics throughout the day. On Sunday, join WAC forecasters for a tour into the A-Lakes backcountry to assess snow conditions and learn about the local terrain. The event is a collaboration between the Outdoor Adventure Program, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, and Wallowa Avalanche Center.

All the events on Saturday and Sunday are free to attend and participate in. All the fundraising is for the Wallowa Avalanche Center (WAC) 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 of Northeast Oregon.

A special thanks goes out to this year’s local festival sponsors: Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, Eagle Cap Mountain Guides, White Pine Outfitters, Blue Mountain Outfitters, Kokanee Inn, M. Crow, Eastern Oregon Landscaping, Dakine, Magic Woodland Studio, Quality Inn in Baker City, Terminal Gravity Brewing, 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:

  • Two 2021-2022 ALMR season passes
  • North Face 38-liter Phantom backpack
  • HMK Pinnacle jacket
  • Dakine backpacks and boot bags
  • Guided backcountry ski trip for two w/ Eagle Cap Mountain Guides
  • Great outdoor gear from Blue Mountain Outfitters of La Grande
  • Gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses
  • Guided trout fishing on the St. Joe River w/ White Pine Outfitters
  • Fabulous art work from Magic Woodland Studio
  • Night out for 4-people at M. Crow in Lostine, OR
  • Two nights for two guests at the Kokanee Inn in Joseph, OR
  • Terminal Gravity Brewing
  • Plus, many other fantastic prizes!

Check out all the fabulous auction items here – 32 Auctions

Friday, Feb. 5th through Feb. 21st
Winter Wildlands Alliance – Backcountry Film Festival

Produced each year as a celebratory, backcountry community event by the Winter Wildlands Alliance, the 16th Annual Backcountry Film Festival film line-up is full of snowy, cinematic adventure sure to inspire both the local backcountry and general communities. Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving winter wildlands and a quality human-powered snow sports experience on public lands. 

By partnering with the EOBF at a local level, the Winter Wildlands Alliance is helping raise much needed funds for the Wallowa Avalanche Center and supporting its mission of promoting safe winter backcountry recreation in Eastern Oregon.

Adventure, environment and climate, youth outdoors, ski culture- you’ll find it all in this award winning lineup. Films in this year’s program include:

  • LOST – Brody Leven
    • Last Call for Moose Mountain Joe Fairbanks
    • Awaken [Revelstoke Segment]Sungod
  • Pathfinder: Life Beyond Fear – Raised by Wolves
    • Resonancias – Florencia Barrabino
    • Float to SkiAllie Rood
  • LATITUDE – Wes Walker and Brittney Ziebell
  • Last Tracks – Erik Petersen
  • Freeride Ski at Home – Philipp Klein
  • The Classic Route Alexis Blaise, Maxime Moulin, Thomas Guerrin, and Hensli Sage

To view this spectacular film go to 16th Annual Backcountry Film Festival. The cost is $20/person or $60/household.

 Saturday, Feb. 6th Events
On Saturday, all events will take place at or near Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. Unfortunately the Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race has been cancelled due to COVID-19. We will still be offering several free avalanche and snow safety clinics led by WAC forecasters throughout the day on Saturday. 

Avalanche Companion Rescue Clinic, 10am: 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. Space is limited. To register sign up here – ACR Clinic

Snow Pit Observation Clinic, 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. Space is limited. To register sign up here – SPO Clinic

Sign up for these clinics for these clinics at the links above. Participants MUST check-in at the EOBF tent outside the main lodge 15 minutes before the clinic.

For these clinics you will need a way to move around on the snow – either with a backcountry set-up or with a pair of snowshoes. The OAP and WAC will have snow safety gear (beacons, shovels, and probes) available for your use during the clinics if you don’t have your own gear.

After the clinics, kick back with a cold one outside the world famous Starbottle Saloon.

Sunday, Feb. 7th Events

EOBF Booth @ 9am: On Sunday, skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to self-organize trips to the backcountry of Anthony Lakes to explore the Elkhorn Mountains in winter. WAC forecasters will also be leading several small tour groups into the Anthony Lakes backcountry to evaluate conditions and show folks the great local terrain options. To register for the ski tour go to – WAC Forecaster Tour


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 and safe 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 or contact WAC Director, Victor McNeil at victor@wallowaavalanchecenter.org

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival schedule:

Jan. 7 – Feb. 7, 2021- Online Auction

Online silent and live auction to benefit and raise funds for the Wallowa Avalanche Center. Amazing prizes, equipment, and services from local businesses and sponsors will be available. To join in the fundraising fun visit 32 Auctions

Feb. 5 – Feb. 21, 2021 – Online Backcountry Film Festival Showing

In collaboration with the Winter Wildlands Alliance we bring you this year’s 16th Annual Backcountry Film Festival film. All proceeds support the Wallowa Avalanche Center. To buy tickets, go to 16th Annual Backcountry Film Festival

Saturday, Feb. 6th – Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

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)

Sunday, Feb. 7th – Elkhorn Mountains

Self-organized free touring day in the Anthony Lakes backcountry. Join WAC forecasters on a tour of Angell Basin near A-Lakes. They’ll show you some helpful techniques for evaluating the local snowpack and good touring options. Look for registration info to come out soon.

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