THE FIRST STEP: watch this avalanche tutorial avalanche.org (the best I've found anywhere)
STEP TWO: sign up for an Avalanche Awarness or AAIRE Avy 1 Class. There literally is a plethora of classes and places to take them.
In North Lake Tahoe: In South Lake Tahoe:
Sierra College (Truckee Branch),
In Bear Valley, CA:
STEP THREE: get extra practice using your avy beacon.
Squaw Valley Ski Patrol does free avalanche transceiver workshops on the 1st and 15th of every month between Dec. 15th until April 15th. Squaw will also be offering their free "Steep & Deep" avalanche awareness clinic at Squaw sometime in January.
Sugar Bowl's Backcountry Adventure Center, run by Alpine Skills Intl, offers free avy beacon training on Saturday's from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.
STEP FOUR: get out in the backcountry with your new found knowledge and get some experience…safely.
The main thing is to get some training and then THINK when you're out there. Really think about what you're doing and what is going on around you and base your decisions on your knowledge and experience.