It would take a book to answer all those questions thoroughly. I have to much experience with avalanches, but it is a part of the terrain that I choose to ride in. The very best thing you can take with you to the mountains is "COMMON SENSE".
Equipment minimum, Beacon, shovel and probe.
Rope is nice to have.
Liquid Drink (non alcohol)
FRIENDS, FRIENDS and more FRIENDS never ride alone
35 to 40 degree slopes are the most likely to hold a snow load until it avalanches, unfortunately they are also the most attractive for high marking. During the last 2 sled seasons I lost 3 close friends and a number of acquaintences. None were drinking or stupid.
Before going to the mountains, become proficient with the tools that you are carrying. I remember the first time someone handed me a probe, I did not know how assemble it. Those precious moments that it takes to figure something out could be the difference in life or death of a fellow human being.