Backcountry Festival back for fifth year

Backcountry Festival

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 9.13.55 AMScreen Shot 2017-01-19 at 9.37.06 AMANTHONY LAKES — The name of the Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival says it all — it’s a celebration of locals who enjoy exploring the region’s backcountry.

“It started as a way to bring backcountry recreationists together,” said Michael Hatch, who is coordinator of the Outdoor Adventure Program at Eastern Oregon University.

The OAP organizes the festival, now in its fifth year, in coordination with the Wallowa Avalanche Center and Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort.

It also helps raise money to support the Avalanche Center, which is nonprofit and mostly run by volunteers.

The festival weekend begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 with a showing of the Winter Wildlands Film Festival at Art Center East, 1006 Penn Ave., La Grande. The event will be catered by Benchwarmers with microbrews available for purchase along with other food and beverages.

“It’s a couple hours of film shorts, mostly nonmotorized winter recreation,” Hatch said.

After about an hour, there will be an intermission for a raffle and silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the Wallowa Avalanche Center, he said.

“We have an awesome selection of prizes donated by local businesses and individuals,” Hatch said.

Items include a whitewater rafting trip from Winding Waters River Expeditions, a ski trip at Wallowa Alpine Huts, a BCA rescue package, stellar outdoor gear from Blue Mountain Outfitters and more.

The festival hits the slopes of Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort on Jan. 21.

Additional info can also be found at

For details about the Wallowa Avalanche Center, go to or like the Facebook page.

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