Heading for the hills? Take an avalanche safety course first

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Mt. Rainier from White Pass. Billy from Olympia took the photo while skiing.

Before you head to the backcountry, you need to learn everything you can about avalanches. Starting December 29, Northwest Avalanche Center is offering free safety courses at White Pass Ski Area, with potentially life-saving information about how and where avalanches happen, how to manage your risk, and how to spot the signs of an avalanche before it happens.

The classes are free, but you do need to sign up in advance. You can do that here.

The classes are from 2:30 until 3:30 on December 29 and 30, January 12, and February 2. Space is limited to the first 30 enrollees.