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Avalanche Safety: 'The importance is life or death'

About 30 people gathered at Edge Performance Sports in Ontario Saturday for avalanche safety training. (CBS2 Staff Photo)

It won't be long before folks will be heading to the mountains to enjoy the snow. But, parks and recreation officials are encouraging people to know, before you go.

Today, about 30 people gathered at Edge Performance Sports in Ontario for avalanche safety training.

Statistics show 92 percent of avalanches are triggered by victims or by a member of their party. So, Rich Gummersall with the Idaho State Parks and Recreation says know before you go to avoid avalanche danger.

"Just to realize that the back country is out to get you. And you need to take small steps as you move to the back country so you have time to evaluate the hazards that are out there," Gummersall said.

Three tools are a must when it comes to avalanche safety: a beacon (otherwise known as a transceiver), probe and shovel.

Gummersall says the average avalanche burial is six to nine feet. But having the equipment can only help if you know how to use it. He suggests practicing with the gear to avoid cutting corners due to high stress.

Tyson Ashby attended training for the first time today, saying it was vital.

"The biggest most important thing I learned was how to test the snow to see if it is even safe to ride on. I didn't know there was a way to do that," Ashby said.

To Ashby, spending the money on gear and education is much more important than losing a life.

For more information on avalanche safety, avalanche.org can guide you with tips on how you can be better prepared to travel the back country.

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