Dear God: More snow, less avs, Go Avs! Got that? Amen.

Here in Colorado we've gone and confused our gods, what with all our prayers for snow in the high country and the ones we've been sending up on behalf of our hockey team to help smite our enemies: It's been nearly a decade since we've been able to say our Avalanche finished a season as No. 1, but we do now lead the nation in avalanche-related deaths.

REI is doing its best to reverse that unfortunate latter statistic, with a free Avalanche Awareness program at 7 p.m. tonight and again November 30 at its Denver flagship store. Consider that a starting point: REI is also offering a free Women's Winter Backcountry Essentials program on Thursday in Denver, and a Winter Survival Skills workshop in Boulder on Wednesday. If you're planning on some winter activities that will necessitate the carrying of shovels and the wearing of beacons -- like skiing at Silverton, for example -- REI's experts will be able to point you in the direction of the more advanced mountain training they'd recommend.

For more, including backcountry forecasts and a full schedule of avalanche-related classes, visit the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (not to be confused with the Colorado Avalanche Fanzone).

In the meantime, let's all agree to get more specific as we're casting our prayers about:

Inside the Pepsi Center, may the gods send a mighty force to overtake and overwhelm our opponents, dashing them upon the proverbial rocks and melting the ice with their blood. But where it really counts, if you please, we'll take our snow in Biblical quantities, neatly and evenly piled up without any of those pesky slide-prone layers, so that we may climb heavenward and float angelically back to earth on billows of pillows. Amen.  

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