This coming weekend I'll be up north taking my first-ever avalanche course, an AIARE Level I offered by Sierra Mountain Guides. While I've probably picked up a good deal level I and higher info over the years, there are a lot of holes in my knowledge. I also thought it would be valuable to write about the experience of taking the course, which might inspire others to improve their own avalanche education. I must admit I've had a lot of reluctance to do this—more on that later. For now, I'll say that many of you probably have exactly the same concerns about taking an avy course as I do.
Locally, I skied inbounds again this past weekend to continue my never-ending boot tests. I should have reviews up for the Radium and Helium soon. The Spirit 4 Review is here. Conditions in the backcountry look depressingly similar to par for the past few years. You'll need a little creativity and a lot of effort to find snow in the San Gabriels. Baldy Bowl looked pretty burnt. The north face has good coverage, though I assume most of it is ice (which may be true of other aspects as well. That's it for now.