Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival returns Jan. 19

Event is a benefit for Wallowa Avalanche Center of Joseph.

Published on January 17, 2018 10:30AM

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Michael Hatch, an organizers of the Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival, takes in the view from Burger Butte in the Wallowa Mountains.

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Michael Hatch, an organizers of the Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival, takes in the view from Burger Butte in the Wallowa Mountains.

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A Joseph-based organization dedicated to avalanche safety will be in the limelight when the sixth Annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is celebrated Jan. 19-21.

For three days this winter, hundreds of folks will gather to celebrate backcountry culture, including an evening of film, fundraising for the Wallowa Avalanche Center, a memorial backcountry race at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, avalanche and snow safety clinics and live music.

“This is an amazing weekend of activities to show your support for the Wallowa Avalanche Center and gather together to celebrate the amazing winter recreation opportunities we have here in eastern Oregon,” said EOU’s Outdoor Adventure Program Coordinator Michael Hatch.

He is also a board member for the center.

The weekend begins Friday at Eastern Oregon University’s Gilbert Events Center with a showing of “Rogue Elements” at 7 p.m. The event includes refreshments –– beer and wine will be available for purchase.

A raffle and auction to benefit the Wallowa Avalanche Center will follow the showing. Prizes donated by businesses and individuals include a backcountry chartered flight over the Wallowas, a ski trip at one of the legendary Wallowa Alpine Huts, a BCA rescue package and outdoor gear from Blue Mountain Outfitters in La Grande.

Tickets are available at the EOU Outdoor Adventure Program, Blue Mountain Outfitters and at the event. Admission costs $10 for students and $15 for community members 18 and older.

Saturday features back-to-back activity at Anthony Lakes Resort, eight miles west of North Powder in Baker County. On tap is the Second-Annual Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race, which offers a cash prize or an Anthony Lakes season pass to the winners and requires pre-registration. Additional activities include snow and avalanche safety clinics, and live music by Bag of Hammers at the Starbottle Saloon.

Sunday features a social ski throughout the day. Groups can self-organize and explore the backcountry surrounding Anthony Lakes. Hatch will lead a tour into Angel Basin at 9 a.m. leaving from the lodge.

A full schedule is available at goo.gl/cdQS9C.

Victor McNeil is the director of the Avalance Center, Julian Pridmore-Brown is deputy director. Board members include Jerry Hustafa, Keith McFarland, Paul Arentsen, Dana Nave and Hatch.

The organization was founded in 2009 by Keith Stebbings with a mission of providing individuals the tools to stay safe in the winter backcountry environment.


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