The annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is taking place at locations in La Grande and Anthony Lakes, Jan.19-21st, 2018. The event is being sponsored by the Outdoor Adventure Program, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, and Wallowa Avalanche Center. Activities will kick-off at the Gilbert Center on the EOU campus with the new TGR film, Rogue Elements at 7:00PM. Friday, Jan. 19th. Doors open at 6:30PM.

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 TGR 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. We have received tremendous support from the community and local businesses! Here are a few of the fantastic auction items being offered:

  • Backcountry ski trip at one of the legendary Wallowa Alpine Huts
  • BCA Avalanche Airbag Pack
  • Beacon, shovel, and probe combo kit
  • 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 and businesses
  • Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort lift tickets

Food and beverages including good beer will by available for purchase. The event is being catered by Sodexo. A special thanks goes out to this year’s local festival sponsors: Wallowa Alpine Huts, Winding Waters River Expeditions, Baker Vision Clinic, Local Harvest, Blue Mountain Outfitters, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, and Side A Brewing for their support.

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 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 Backcountry Race starting at 8AM The race has prizes for the winners, both male and female categories. The overall winners will receive a 2018/2019 Season Pass to Anthony Lakes or a $250 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

An avalanche companion rescue clinic lead by EOU Outdoor Adventure Program Coordinator Michael Hatch and WAC staff, will follow at 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. At 1PM, Michael Hatch and other 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. Registration information can be found here.

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. OAP Coordinator and WAC Forecaster, Michael Hatch will be leading a tour group into Angel Basin. To join him, meet at A-Lakes lodge (lower-level) at 9am w/ touring and snow safety gear.

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 To learn about the Wallowa Avalanche Center visit

Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival schedule:

Friday, Jan. 19 – Gilbert Hall, EOU Campus, La Grande

  • 7 – 9PM – Teton Gravity Research’s new film, Rogue Elements. Doors open at 6:30PM.
  • *Event will be catered by Sodexo with good micro beers available for purchase.
  • *Raffle with great winter gear prizes and recreational packages from local retailers.
  • *$10 for students with valid ID. $15 admission at the door. Kids under 8 get in free. Raffle tickets 1 for $2 or 3 for $5.

Saturday, Jan.20 – Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

  • 8AM – 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.
  • 10AM – Avalanche Companion Rescue Clinic at Anthony Lakes. (Meet at EOBF tent outside of the lodge)
  • 1PM – Avalanche Basics Clinic: snow profiles and stability tests in the AL backcountry.(Meet at EOBF tent outside of the lodge)
  • 3-6PM – Live music in the afternoon at the Starbottle Saloon with Bag of Hammers

Sunday, Jan. 21 – 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 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, Jan. 22nd) that receives the most “Likes” on the EOU Outdoor Adventure Program Facebook page.