Last week, many of us gave thanks for the privilege of living in our own little Narnia, but as we step from the dinner table through the wardrobe, it's important to remember with great gifts come great responsibilities. That is, Central Oregon is avalanche country and the risk of getting caught in one is very real whether we make our way through the backcountry on foot, ski, or machine. Fortunately, there's no shortage of avalanche education to be shared in the area.
Central Oregon Avalanche Association
COAA offers a super-introductory "Get in the Know Before You Go" avalanche awareness presentation for those of us new to these parts. The program is free and happens once a month at (bonus) Broken Top Bottle Shop. Catch the next one Tues., Dec. 9 at 6 pm. COAA's website is also full of handy info such as current avalanche observations and links to other great resources. coavalanche.org
Three Sisters Back Country
These guys offer three levels of total immersion programs to suit beginners through experienced avalanche avoiders. Courses are hut-based, require advanced snowshoeing or basic Telemark, split board, or alpine touring ski ability and take place on Tam McArthur Rim. Program length varies from two to seven days. Registration is currently open for the 2014-2015 season. threesistersbackcountry.com/education/
Central Oregon Community College
For a more traditional avalanche education, COCC has you covered. The community college offers two levels of classes conveniently staggered so both can be taken within the same term. Courses run three weeks and consist of once weekly evening lectures and weekend field classes. Registration is open now. cocc.edu/continuinged/outdoor-navigation---wilderness-survival-skills