Last season, Alex Marienthal, of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, stopped by the Moose studio to talk about three items that you need to have in order to be prepared for an avalanche.

The avalanche safety classes that are offered by the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center are REALLY good and are often FREE OF CHARGE. Some classes are offered at a low cost. They are absolutely worth your time to attend even if you are an experience back country skier. The folks at the Avalanche Center are some of the best in the entire nation and know our mountains better than anyone.

Click here for the latest avalanche conditions and reports from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

Click here for the latest avalanche class schedule from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. You'll find GNFAC classes in Red; Private-sector classes are in Blue.

The GNFAC website leads you to crucial weather stations and webcams that are worth bookmarking if you're active in the back country.

The GNFAC is headed by Doug Chabot:

Doug, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, received his B.A. in Outdoor Education from Prescott College in 1986.

From 1990 to 1999 he worked as a professional ski patroller at Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Bozeman, Montana.

Starting in 1995 Doug has worked for the GNFAC as an avalanche specialist.

He's also a mountain guide and climber. Doug has been on numerous climbing expeditions to Alaska, Nepal, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, resulting in many first ascents and new routes.

In 2011, Doug co-founded Iqra Fund, a nonprofit doing education work for girls in northern Pakistan