Thanks for the wealth of information guys. I'm definitely not trying to do anything serious at this point. Even riding Pacific Crest's bowl at Snoqualmie West one day, it was like waist deep in some areas and I fell. It was really challenging making it out of there and finally getting on my board again. Just walking like 30 yards in that stuff took an alarming amount of strength. I can only imagine what a true back country experience could entail.
As I said however, if you want some basic back country training like what this new course will contain, I am totally down for meeting you halfway like at Ashford outside of Mt. Rainier National Park or at White Pass east of Packwood.
White Pass or Mt. Rainier area would work, I'm free on Sat or Sun. Let me know what you're thinking in terms of costs and I'll let you know if I can pull it off. Oh and I'd be more than happy to run into Bigfoot - I think.
Over the summer do some reading take some classes (rei often holds free seminars) about avalanches and safe backcountry travel to better prepare your self for future outings.
I'm actually working for REI at the corporate office, so I can probably pick quite a few brains around here. These people definitely live and breathe the outdoor culture. I was going to see if the merchandise dept. would let me borrow a split-board actually. They definitely let their full time employees borrow gear (I'm a contractor).