DENVER (CBS4)– With avalanche danger conditions in the backcountry described as “considerable” at best, a local nonprofit wants to make sure everyone has a good time and comes home safe. That means learning about the conditions before heading to the High Country.

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The “Friends of Berthoud Pass” offers free avalanche awareness classes. This year, the focus is on women, along with hazards, terrain and self-rescue.

“We welcome snow angel enthusiasts, snow shoers, hikers, climbers, you name it we can do it,” said Rebecca Hedley, an instructor with Friends of Berthoud Pass.

Rebecca Hedley (credit: CBS)

Organizers say they’ve seen a big increase in women interested in learning about the backcountry. One key focus is something that can be very unpredictable in Colorado…the weather.

“So, the biggest thing we look for especially in Colorado is our weather. I think that plays a huge part in our snowpack safety. We’re a unique state in that we have a different kind of snowpack,” Hedley told CBS4.

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With outdoor sports gaining popularity, combined with more people moving to Colorado, Hedley says this is information that can save lives.

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“I think what’s important is that we’re seeing more and more women getting into the backcountry, they’re getting out with their friends, they’re making good choices but we want to make sure everyone has a really good foundation of avalanche knowledge,” said Hedley. “We always encourage our group to pursue more education and higher levels of education. What we really want to see is people who are interested in learning and are excited about getting out and playing safe.”

(credit: CBS)

Friends of Berthoud Pass have more avalanche awareness classes scheduled throughout January. The next one is 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Belmar Library.

LINK: Friends of Berthoud Pass