Idaho Parks and Recreation offers free, statewide avalanche safety classes, which run through Feb. 22. While the classes are focused on snowmobilers, they can benefit all winter backcountry recreationalists.

TWIN FALLS — Every year in the United States, 28 people die in avalanches on average. The 2019-2020 season has already seen 12 fatalities, which occurred during a variety of recreational activitiesincluding snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) offers free snowmobile-based avalanche awareness classes. The sessions are geared to familiarize winter backcountry recreationalists with hazard-recognition skills and techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain.

While the classes are oriented around snowmobiles, there are benefits for all winter recreationalists. The free, statewide classes run through Feb. 22.

Two classes will be offered in Twin Falls on Feb. 7 and 8.

To see a full list of classes, visit RecEd.Idaho.gov or email Rich Gummersall for more information at Richard.Gummersall@idpr.idaho.gov.

Get the gear

You have 15 minutes to save a life! Every recreationist, snowmobile or otherwise, needs to carry and know how to use an avalanche transceiver, probe, and shovel.

Get the training

Everyone entering Idaho’s backcountry needs basic avalanche awareness. Don’t stop at a classroom avalanche awareness class! It is critical to attend a field companion rescue course. IDPR offers both for free.

Get the forecast

Know before you go! Take time to watch the weather and visit avalanche.org to review the local forecast for the area in which you are planning to ride. Take the time in advance to learn to read and understand the forecast and conditions.

Get the picture

Armed with knowledge from attending a class, watching the weather, and reading the forecast, getting the picture is about seeing and understanding the snow, weather, and group safety challenges we face in the mountains.

Get out of harm’s way

Going one at a time on avalanche terrain can reduce fatalities up to 63%. Use your resources to identify avalanche terrain, practice conservative decision making and careful route finding.

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