Winter backcountry users – whether they ski, snowshoe, snowboard or snowmobile – should be able to recognize avalanche danger.
In the winter of 2011-12, there were 35 avalanche fatalities nationwide, including four in Washington. According to the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, avalanches have killed more people in Washington than any other natural disaster. From 1950-2010, avalanches accounted for 25.4 percent of the 424 deaths caused by natural disasters.
REI and the the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education will hold an avalanche awareness class Tuesday. The two-hour session will introduce and explain where and why avalanches happen. It also provides participants with a basic approach to managing risk in the backcountry. Attendees will learn to access local bulletins and weather reports, recognize basic signs of avalanche danger and learn simple ways to help avoid an avalanche.
The program will begin at 7 p.m. at the REI store at 625 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Suite 410, Olympia.
The program is free, but registration is required at rei.com/Olympia.
For more information, call 360-786-1938.