LA GRANDE, NORTH POWDER — The Wallowa Avalanche Center’s 11th annual Eastern Oregon Backcountry Festival is happening Feb. 3-5 with events in La Grande and at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. This annual celebration is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the center, as well as a weekend of learning about avalanche danger and snow safety.

The Wallowa Avalanche Center provides education, avalanche advisories, mountain weather information and observations. Center staff begin bi-weekly avalanche forecasts in the fall and continue until early April.

Friday, Feb. 3

HQ, 112 Depot St.The first event is a fundraiser and screening of the award-winning documentary “Buried,” which commemorates 40 years since the Alpine Meadows, California, avalanche disaster that killed seven people. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. at HQ. Admission is $5.

The evening also includes a raffle and pie auction to raise funds for the WAC. Pie donations are welcome — email for details.

The pie auction begins at 6:30 p.m., and the film starts at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 4

Anthony Lakes Mountain ResortActivities get an early start at 8 a.m. with the Kip Rand Memorial Backcountry Race. Register in advance at https://

There are several registration options: $25 for the race only; $50 for the race and a WAC hat; or $75 for the race, WAC hat and WAC donation.

Two clinics are planned for later in the day.

At 10 a.m., the WAC presents an avalanche companion rescue clinic. Then, at 1 p.m., learn about avalanche basics — snow profiles and stability tests — in the backcountry. Both clinics begin at the tent outside the rental shop. Register online at

The day finishes with live music by Bag of Hammers in the Starbottle Saloon from 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 6

Elkhorn MountainsThe WAC forecasters will lead a tour of Angell Basin near Anthony Lakes, and share techniques for evaluating the local snowpack and touring options. This starts at 9 a.m. — meet at the tent by the rental shop.

Those planning to join are asked to register at

Online Auction

An online auction to benefit and raise funds for the Wallowa Avalanche Center is live now through Feb. 5. Prizes, equipment, and services from local businesses and sponsors will be available. To view items and bid on equipment and services from local businesses and sponsors, go to

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