Hi @REI-CarterC 

I live in Bay Area, and for logistical reasons plan to focus on skiing/touring in the area of Dodge Ridge ski resort (and are around it, e.g., Pinecrest trails, Bell Mt., etc), Bear Valley ski resort, and Yosemite/Crane Flat area.

This area (with the possible exception of the Bear Valley) is not covered by any of the avalanche centers. There is not much avalanche terrain in there, at least readily accessible by public from any reasonable parking lot or sno-park, so this could be a good opportunity for making snowpack tests, beacon search practices and attempts for prediction of the snow conditions. 

There is a number of the SNOTEL sites to the east of the Dodge Ridge ski resort that line up along north-south line; theoretically, they can provide useful information for the purpose of the forecasting or at leas estimating of what to expect.

I found an online course  (or, rather, course materials) on the subject, it would be interesting to hear the opinion on that from more experienced tourers (enthusiasm or not, I am still a beginner in the backcountry skiing).