Avalanche educators target safety message at younger crowds

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MOUNT BAKER, Wash. (AP) — As more young adults head out of bounds to ski, snowboard or hike in the winter, experts are targeting their message about avalanche safety to an even younger audience.

They’re trying to reach kids early — sometimes even in elementary school — to build their knowledge about avalanches.

The Northwest Avalanche Center, based in Seattle, organizes about 200 free or low-cost basic avalanche awareness classes each winter. About one-third are now geared toward teens or young adults.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says this month been the deadliest January in nearly 20 years. Three people were killed on Sunday in Washington and Wyoming.

Free avalanche programs also exist in Washington, Utah and Wyoming.