"The course hammered home: don't let the fact that you're in a group let you be quiet. Everybody's voice counts," said attendee Kevin Klein, a Seattle brewer.
Ian Koppe, an aspiring ski photographer from Seattle, said avalanches aren't going to stop him from hitting the backcountry.
"Just because it's dangerous, people still do it," he said. "You have to know how to go about doing it safely."
Hamill said the risks come with the rewards of being out in the serenity of the mountains.
"Being up there in the winter time is just majestic," he said. "If you're going out into the backcountry, there's risk just like there's risk in everything in life. But if you love going in the backcountry, you learn to accept those kinds of risks, and you try to mitigate it."
Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center: http://www.nwac.us/
American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education: http://is.gd/vS6rNO
Colorado Avalanche Information Center: http://is.gd/L3hZ3x
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