More people than ever before are earning their turns beyond the boundaries of resort skiing. While backcountry skiing and riding opens the door to soul turns, no lift lines and some of the most rewarding (or humbling) experiences of one's ski career it also opens the door to a whole new slew of dangers and life threatening situations. Before hitting the skin track it's crucial to have the proper equipment (shovel, beacon, and probe are only the bare minimum) plus the knowledge of how to use it and the education to avoid dangerous situations.
Outside Magazine shares what you need to know before venturing out on your next tour. This article is by no means a replacement for taking an avalanche course but it's a great stepping stone for getting familiar with the dangers and the terms used to identify them.