There has been alot of avalanche accidents this year due to all the snow in the mountains. Here is a couple of links that explain almost everything you will ever need to know about an avalanche. Thanks to Docrmk for providing these informative links.
Just go to http://www.avalanche.org/ and poke around - a lot of good information there. This one is good as well: www.avalanche.ca - it has online training. If you really are going to go out in avalanche country take a class - well worth the time, money and effort.
From time to time, there are avalanche safety classes offered in the area, mostly Level 1 (lowest, or "awareness" level.) If you visit www.sledspace.com, it will have any local safety classes scheduled. There are also a few southern Oregon people on the site and you can find people that want to ride. Like most snowmobile sites, it's not very busy this time of year.
Packs, beacon, shovel, probe are pretty important, especially if you start riding the high country. We don't get many avalanches, but there are some.
The rider that triggered this one was buried with only his hand exposed. Lucky for him. None of the riders were wearing their safety gear, the result could have been a LOT different had the guy not thrust his hand up at the last second. Digging a friend or family member out with just your hands has got to suck, too...
2007 RMK 700, 2008 RMK 600, 1995 AC Prowler 2-up, 1980? AC Cheetah