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The 11th annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is going to be back to normal this year. We will host our annual film showing and fundraiser Friday night at HQ in La Grande while still offering an online auction through the month of January to raise funds for the Wallowa Avalanche Center. For Saturday events more up to Anthony Lakes where we’ll have the Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race, host several free snow safety clinics throughout the day, and have live music by Bag of Hammers in the Starbottle Saloon at 3pm. 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, Winding Waters River Expeditions, Side A Brewing, Brooks Painting and Contracting, Eastern Wheelworks, Eagle Cap Mountain Guides, and Kokanee Inn for their support.
We have received tremendous support from the backcountry community and local businesses! Here are a few of the FANTASTIC auction items we’ll have for 2023:
Check out all the fabulous auction items here – 32 Auctions
For 2023, we are happy to announce the return of our film showing and fundraiser event for Friday night. This event kicks off the festival and is a fabulous opportunity for the backcountry community to come together, enjoy a night of film, friends, fundraising, food, and beer. This event is supported by our local brewery and vendors. A live pie auction will take place prior to the film, so grab grandma’s recipe and bake away!
We’ll be showing the award-wining documentary “Buried” that commemorates 40-years since the Alpine Meadows, CA avalanche disaster that killed 7 people. Along with showing the film we’ll have a raffle and pie auction event to raise funds for the WAC. Dust off the old family recipes or excite us with your phenomenal baking skills. We need pie donations galore! Expect great local brew, food, and vendors.
On Saturday, all events will take place at or near Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. The race is in loving memory of past WAC Director, Kip Rand. Kip perished in a cornice fall accident in 2016 while touring in the Wallowas. We honor Kip’s charisma, thoughtfulness, limitless energy, and enduring passion for the outdoors.
Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race, 8am: This several mile backcountry race is in memory of our dear friend and past WAC director, Kip Rand. This race is open to all skill levels and abilities, along with all snow slide types including AT and Telemark skiers and split boarders. There is a men’s and women’s division. Whatever race equipment you start out with is the race equipment you must cross the finish line with. Winners of the men’s and women’s division receive a 2023-2024 Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort season pass, or $100 cash. Participants MUST check-in at the EOBF tent down by the lift 15 minutes before the clinic.
To register sign up here – Kip Rand Backcountry Race Registration
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 down by the lift 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.
Bag of Hammers, 3:30pm, Starbottle Saloon: Come dressed in your most outlandish outfit and let your inner diva shine. We’ll have the amazing and super funky Bag of Hammers playing in the Starbottle Saloon. You’ll dance, we’ll give away awesome prizes, you’ll be stoked, we’ll award the best dressed, and you’ll be so happy you supported your local avalanche center.
BC Tour, 9am: On Sunday, WAC forecasters will 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 will meet on the south side of the rental shop at 9am sharp.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about the Wallowa Avalanche Center visit www.wallowaavalanchecenter.org or contact WAC Director, Victor McNeil at email@example.com
Jan. 21 – Feb. 5, 2023- Online Auction
Online 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
Friday, Feb. 3, 2023 – “Buried” Showing and Fundraiser @ HQ in La Grande.
Saturday, Feb. 4th – Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort
8 a.m. – Festivities start out with the Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race. (Meet at the EOBF tent down by the lift)
10 a.m. – Avalanche Companion Rescue Clinic at Anthony Lakes. (Meet at EOBF tent down by the lift)
1 p.m. – Snow Pit Observation Clinic: snow profiles and stability tests in the AL backcountry. (Meet at EOBF tent down by the lift)
3 p.m. – Bag of Hammers at the Starbottle Saloon. Come dressed in your most outlandish outfit and prepare to dance your pants off!
Sunday, Feb. 5th – Elkhorn Mountains
9 a.m. – 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. (Meet at EOBF tent south of the rental shop 15 min before the tour)
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 Course Leader. Victor has 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. Victor and his wife Kelly, own Eagle Cap Mountain Guides.
Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race Results for 2/6/22
Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race Results for 2/8/20
1. Mark Hauter – 42:25 2. Aaron Maxwell – 44:53 3. John Orland – 52:38
9. Raphaela Hsh-Flanders – 113:45
Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race Results – 1/28/19
1. Devin Calvin – 35:53 2. Mark Hauter – 38:44 3. Allan Ottman – 39:50 9. Jessica Barker – 43:18
Outdoor Adventure Program
Located in Hoke 118
Rental Hours: M - F : 12-5pm
(except closed on Wednesdays)