It may serve you better. The FOBP class will certainly get your feet wet and teach you the basics. It may serve you better than dropping the $300 plus for a Level I course at this time. I highly recommend it, but only if bc riding is something you are going to be doing, with just you and your buds. Not guided trips.
Again Silverton is a controlled mountain, just like any resort in Colorado. They like to make their clients feel like it's a backcountry experience, but it just isn't. Still if they can get you to drink the Kool Aid than they can get reliable repeat business. It's not a bad thing. It was their original plan to have it as a lift served backcountry area. Reality set in and it was just something they couldn't do. Regardless, the mountain is steep and bad ass. Backcountry or not, it's pretty rad.
The biggest thing I can say, is when you get your beacon, learn how to use it. Of course you are going to need another one to practice with, but your friends should be rocking beacons too.
The beacon aspect of training is what I am lacking right now, and that's what I wanted to focus on this winter. Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate! If the conditions are ever favorable, I'll see if I can make it up to Berthoud Pass.