Nickolay Dodov Foundation, the leader providing FREE avalanche education in California and beyond is one of the Top Rated 2020 Non Profits

Nickolay Dodov Foundation is honored to be on the 2020 @greatnonprofits Top Rated Non-Profits list!!! Check the reviews from the most respected professionals in the avalanche field, from ski/snowboard coaches, from teachers, from students and athletes, from journalists. We are very thankful to all of them for great reviews and support! To our Bear Valley cominuty members! Please support NDF with a review! Please support NDF with a donation! As many other nonprofits we lost two of our big fundraisers due to COVID-19. We believe that avalanche education will be more Important than ever! We believe that we will find support to continue providing FREE Avalanche education to youth and all ages in California and beyond! Our commitment to providing FREE Avalanche Education to you does not change during this pandemic, but it does change how we fund it. Please consider donating so we can continue our work and be an essential part of your winter! here is the link

Here are some of the reviews;

“The NDF is a fantastic non-profit providing free avalanche education to youth in California, as well as in other states and even sometimes internationally. They operate with a very limited budget and put all the money toward their avalanche education efforts. I can’t say enough good things about Natalia, Alex, and the NDF. They are a non-profit that is well worth supporting!”

Karl Birkeland Director Forest Service National Avalanche Center NDF Adviser

“The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a leading provider of youth avalanche awareness presentations in Northern California. They do a great job reaching school groups and ski teams and providing important avalanche information to help keep kids safe in the winter mountain environment. The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a leader in the growing effort to provide this critical information to youth. Their presentations are well designed and delivered by experienced snow and avalanche professionals.”

David Reichel Executive Director – Sierra Avalanche Center

“This nonprofit provides valuable life saving education to winter time backcountry enthusiasts. Each event is filled with avalanche awareness, rescue and knowledge that teaches children to approach the backcountry with caution. This information provides the foundation of avalanche education and is pertinent to the future generations. Mountain communities need this more than ever as winter time sports are ever expanding to the backcountry. This program helps to save lives and allow people enjoy their favorite pass time safely. We need more organizations like this.”

Jason Bilek AIARE Level 1 and 2 Avalanche Educator NDF Avalanche Educator

“The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is clear about its mission, and stays true to that mission. The emphasis is always on delivering avalanche education to the public. I have been involved with several non-profits. This one is special because their budget goes almost entirely to delivering programs. Five dollars donated to the NDF will provide an opportunity for one more student to receive avalanche education, on average. If there is a school group, club or other organization that would benefit from avalanche education, the Nickolay Dodov Foundation will come to them to deliver.”

Richard Bothwell Former AIARE Director AMGA SPI Climbing Guide AIARE Level 1 and 2 Avalanche Educator PSIA Ski Instructor Owner of Outdoor Adventure Club NDF Avalanche Educator “

The Nickolay Dodov foundation was founded by two amazing people that lost their son to an avalanche some years ago. They have made it their goal in life to help the winter sports community which includes, ski race teams, snowboard teams, kids, adults, in-bounds and backcountry users. They also reach the motorized community with not only avalanche awareness but also by providing rescue practice and gear to use. The foundation hires professional avalanche educators to deliver high quality content to all of their attendants. They reach thousands of people each season. Their work has helped save lives and given people the appropriate knowledge they need before going into the backcountry. I believe the Nickolay Dodov foundation is a must for the winter community’s.”

Duncan Lee Professional Snowmobiler Avalanche educator with Sierra Avalanche Center NDF Avalanche Educator

“As an avid skier and making snow skiing my profession, I understand how critical snow safety is for all who go into the mountains. I have taken Avalanche Safety Education through many programs and rate NDF as a very valuable educational experience. They offer this education to our youth snow enthusiasts as well and present in a way they can grasp the basic and important skills through classroom and in the field learning. Then putting it all into action and practicing real life scenarios. Read their story and mission. NDF is committed to educating all snow enthusiasts by arming them to make smart decisions, knowing how to use safety equipment and keeping people safe to enjoy recreation on snow.”

Daron Rahlves The most accomplished American downhill racer of all time Sugar Bowl Academy- Board of Trustees

“The Nickolay Dodov Foundation has has offered their superb Avalanche educational services to our school for the Past 2 years. I run a program for a Ski Academy that is surrounded by terrain that see’s frequent Avalanche activity. To be able to have the Dodov foundation come in and work with our team is an invaluable experience for all. Their modest approach to their non-profit program shows they really care about educating people and not about making a buck. My experience with them has been excellent and I would fully recommend using their services to continue to educate thrill seekers about the risk involved while traveling in the backcountry.”

Sean Carey Director of Freeride Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy

“LOVE the Dodov foundation! They are passionate about educating the next generation of shredders. The workshops are a great introduction to snowsport safety and a must for anyone. I hope they keep touring and presenting as it is esential to filling the gap that is currently present (those who are not ready to financially commit to a full avy course)”

Bruce Edgerly Vice President/Co-founder Backcountry Access, Inc.

“In today’s world, you can reach so many people through social media. Unfortunately, very few of us use this platform to do something bigger than ourselves. We post our opinions but don’t act upon them to make changes. And that’s where Natalia and Alex Dodov stray from the rest of us. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, they use their opportunities and energy to help kids learn about avalanche safety solutions. I’ve seen this personally in action at South Tahoe High School and it was amazing to see every single kid absorbing the material even if they aren’t skiers or snowboarders. Living in the mountains is a dangerous if you don’t how to watch out and avoid avalanches. This FREE service they do is essential and can’t say enough about them.”

Alex Silgalis Journalist, Local Freshies

“I learned about the Nickolay Dodov Foundation while working for a small newspaper in Calaveras County, and the story of the foundation is the most inspirational that I have had the opportunity to cover. Alex and Natalia Dodov responded to the tragic loss of their son in an avalanche by working tirelessly to ensure that young people have the knowledge necessary to stay safe in the mountains. They do this by providing free presentations and workshops on avalanche safety to ski and snowboard athletes, students, teachers, parents and mountain enthusiasts of any age. Knowledgeable speakers, videos, activities and games are skillfully used to engage young audiences. At the presentation that I attended in Bear Valley, I was impressed that the NDF was able to engage even the youngest students in the audience. The NDF has educated more than 10,500 people in the last seven years. I believe that the NDF has saved lives through its work, and will save many more in the years to come.”

Noah Berner Journalist, Calaveras Enterprise

“Each Winter season I look forward to working with Natalia, Alex, and their experienced and professional avalanche educators. The Nickolay Dodov Foundation brings the content of mountain safety and survival to my students in a modern, engaging, and hands-on way. Students are able to see themselves in the mountains because the information is catered to the age group and it is interactive and high-interest. The knowledge they gain opens doors to career paths, science study, and recreational opportunities that they would not otherwise get! The Foundation is flexible, communicative, and very respectful to teachers and schools schedules, demands, and students! Looking forward to Winter 2021!”

Jillian Raymond backcountry skier/ teacher South Tahoe High School History Department/ AVID Elective Teacher NDF has been to this school 6 years in the row!

“I cannot say enough positive things about the Dodov Foundation. I was first exposed to this organization when they presented to my son’s ski race team 2 years ago. It was such a powerful and educational presentation that intermixed their own personal experiences with snow sciences. Since then, he has attended 2 more educational sessions. Each time him and I walk away with new information and a renewed respect for snow safety. Thank you for creating content that can engage the youngest skiers and boarders.”

Amy Kadelski Fish Backcountry skier, Mother of ski racer, have been to many of the NDFavalanche education events with her son and husband

“We attended a free one day avalanche safety event at Sugar Bowl Academy. Amongst students, parents and other local snow enthusiasts, we spent a wonderful day learning about snow and avalanche safety. The first part of the day was spent in the classroom and the teacher kept the lesson so interesting and interactive. Natalia and Alex even had gifts as giveaways. Then we went outside and practiced our newly learned skills. Beacon in hand, probe and shovel at the ready, we worked in small groups to retrieve buried equipment. I would recommend The Nickolay Dodov Foundation to anyone looking to become safer when in the backcountry. We really enjoyed our experience and look forward to the next opportunity to attend one of these sessions!”

Johanna Cameron Backcountry skier

“The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a beautiful non profit that educates the public (primary the youth) about Avalanche education. I took a course in Santa Cruz in the classroom , learning about snow pack stability & snow layer’s, and about hazardous terrain. Also learning about how to travel into the backcountry and with what tools I need. We then split up into groups and played scenarios , and critical thinking in a short amount of time. After the classroom we went down to the beach to do some hands on training with Beacon, Probe , & Shovel. Great training and practice to utilize the skills we learned in the classroom & put them to the test. That way when we travel in the backcountry we not only have the gear and knowledge , but know how to use the tools. Alex & Natalia list there son in a tragic avalanche in Alaska & started this non profit in his name. Nothing but love & Respect for Alex & Natalia & the Nickolay Dodov foundation! Looking forward to the next Avalanche workshop.”

Ben Gilbert Backcountry skier

“I attended this avalanche workshop as a ‘refresher’ and I am extremely thankful for the hands on opportunity to practice for a burial rescue.The probes I owned were old and did not work efficiently, and I was having a lot of difficulty. I ordered new probes that evening and I felt much more confident and safe when I went backcountry snowboarding later that week. I am an avid snowboarder and snowmobiler and I love to play in the mountains. The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a phenomenal organization that plain and simply saves lives. We never think that we may be caught in an avalanche or that we may have to rescue a loved one, but it is a risk we all take when we venture out in the snow. Natalia and Alex are passionate about teaching snow safety awareness. They do not want you to stop having fun, on the contrary, they want you to go out and play in the mountains, but do it being well informed with knowledge and equipment. I highly recommend these workshops, especially for young people.”

Michelle Harvey Backcountry snowboarder/ snowmobiler

“This foundation is changing the game of backcountry/avalanche education! I have attended several workshops that they have put on FOR FREE! They have expert educators that truly are gifted in sharing and teaching on the topic of backcountry safety. I have learned so much and hope thousands of others will have the same opportunity to benefit from this foundation!” Drew Loring Backcountry snowboarder


The NDF Avalanche Safety Educational Tour was cut short due to CORONA Virus while the Foundation was having the busiest season traveling with FREE Avalanche Education to youth, presenting EIGHTEEN Free Avalanche Educational events to more than 2500 ski and snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, coaches, teachers, parents and all age mountain enthusiast.

Alex and Natalia Dodov

When the Pandemic started NDF had to cancel 5 KBYG presentation, 2 NDF avalanche workshops, 2 Level 1 courses, 2 international workshops and the 7th Annual Nickolay Dodov slopestyle event.

As Founders of NDF we volunteer our time to help the Foundation. We scheduled, traveled from Santa Cruz to Mammoth and China Lake from Tahoe to Quincy, Taylorsville and Mt Shasta from Bear Valley to Sacramento bringing the necessary equipment to organize and be in support of every event.

Thank you to our dedicated donors! We were able to provide all the free classes with an exceedingly small budget without a major grants or sponsors.

We are very thankful to our eleven avalanche educators (7 in the US and 3 International) for their passion and professionalism.

Besides being busy with the Foundation we had 100+ ski days in the backcountry. During the Pandemic we were out every day to brake trails and oversee the safety in our backyard.

We hope that you are having a nice Summer… That you climbed a rock, biked a trail, surfed a wave, rode some white waters… That you took the time to admire the wild flowers…Kept your screws loose! We are very busy with our Summer jobs…and always making time to play!!!..We are looking forward to see you in the Winter!

List of the events and the places NDF visited in Winter 2019/2020


October 26th – Avalanche Safety Presentation in Bear Valley at the BVAC

December 7th – Second Annual Five hour Interactive Avalanche Workshop in Santa Cruz

December 10th – Second Annual KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation at Mammoth High School

December 11th – Avalanche Safety Presentation at Naval Base China Lake

December 29th – Third Annual Avalanche Safety Presentation to the Squaw Valley ski/snowboard teams

December 29th – Second Annual Five hour Interactive Avalanche Workshop at Sugar Bowl Ski Academy

December 30th – Five-hour Interactive Avalanche Workshop for the Squaw Valley ski/snowboard teams

January 18th – Second Annual KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation for the Heavenly ski/snowboard teams

January 30th – Avalanche Awareness Clinic to Sacramento State ski/snowboard team and students

February 8th – Seventh Annual KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation for the Bear Valley Ski/snowboard teams

February 15th – (Nick’s Birthday) Fifth Annual Avalanche Safety Presentation for Kirkwood ski team

February 21st – KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation to the students of Plumas County Charter school in Quincy

February 21st – KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation to the students of Indian Valley Academy in Taylorsville

February 22nd – KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation at LOGE Mt Shasta

March 2nd – Sixth Annual KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation to the students of Avery Middle School

March 5th – KBYG Avalanche Safety Presentation at Truckee Philosophy

March 6th – Sixth Annual Avalanche Educational Event with two avalanche safety presentations/workshops to the students of South Tahoe High School

March 8th – Second Annual Beacon Search Practice for Bear Valley ski/snowboard teams

Alex and Natalia Dodov

“Nickolay Dodov Foundation has busy year despite coronavirus” By Noah Berner, Calaveras Enterprise



“Organizations of all kinds have been hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and local nonprofits are no exception.
After shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect in mid-March, the Nickolay Dodov Foundation (NDF) had to cancel several events, including one of its main fundraisers.
Founded by Natalia and Alex Dodov, and named after their son who died in an avalanche in Alaska, the NDF is a leading provider of free avalanche awareness training in the Sierra. Over the past seven years, the NDF has worked to educate youth and all ages of mountain enthusiasts on how to stay safe in the mountains, teaching free avalanche safety presentations and workshops to more than 10,500 people.

The Dodovs hope to save lives through their work, and attend every event themselves. While the NDF had to cancel five presentations and three workshops due to COVID-19, they still had one of their busiest seasons so far.
“Before the pandemic started, NDF was able to present 18 free avalanche educational events to more than 2,500 ski and snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, coaches, teachers, parents and all-age mountain enthusiasts,” Natalia Dodov said. “All the events we had this winter were by request from the benefiting groups – ski and snowboard teams and schools, colleges and universities. There has been an increased number of organizations seeing the need for avalanche education and reaching out to NDF.”
The seventh annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle competition at Bear Valley was canceled this year following the closure of the downhill ski resort.
“We missed the opportunity to have a fundraiser during the Slopestyle,” Natalia Dodov said. “We are hoping the current situation will improve and people will continue to contribute in the future.”

Three additional avalanche educators joined the NDF this year, bringing the total to seven.
“We have been discussing with our avalanche educators different ways how to approach youth and all-ages mountain enthusiasts with online avalanche education,” Natalia Dodov said. “Even though we are hoping for normal times to return, as we are already planning many events for the next winter season.”
Natalia Dodov said that the work of the NDF has become even more important during the current crisis.
“Resort restrictions may unleash a flood of new users with no foundation of avalanche safety education and knowledge into the backcountry next winter,” she said. “The avalanche classes were already too expensive for many. Now, with the current economic situation, even more people won’t be able to afford them. Free avalanche education will be crucial.”
The NDF was founded to help winter sports enthusiasts safely enjoy the mountains, and that’s just what the Dodovs have been doing with their time off.
“In the last two months, living in Bear Valley, we have spent our time that otherwise we would volunteer towards avalanche safety presentations and workshops to backcountry ski and snowboard and oversee the safety around our backyard,” Natalia Dodov said. “So far this season we have had over 100 ski days – only about 20 days in the ski area – the rest were in the backcountry. With the high passes open there is more spring skiing to be had.”
Those interested in supporting the NDF’s work can send checks to Nickolay Dodov Foundation, PO Box 5035, Bear Valley, CA 95223, or donate through Paypal at Donations are tax deductible, and contributors will receive an invoice for their records.

The Dodov Foundation… A ‘Beacon’ Of Positivity by Alex Silgalis, Local Freshies


“In today’s world, our own voice is the strongest it has EVER been. You can reach so many people through social media. Unfortunately, very few of us use this platform to do something bigger than ourselves. We post our opinions but don’t act upon them to make changes. And that’s where Natalia and Alex Dodov stray from the rest of us. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, they use their opportunities and energy to help kids learn about avalanche safety solutions.

Seeing The Dodov Foundation In Action

I’ve been good friends with the Dodov’s for quite a while, but it wasn’t until this week I came to the realization of what they are actually doing. I was given the privilege to step into a South Tahoe High School classroom and see their foundation in action. Looking around, I saw something that absolutely blew my mind. Attentive high school kids listening closely to an avalanche educator teaching them about avalanche safety solutions. The lyrics of the hip-hop group Jurassic 5 pounded in my head over and over again:

Are you part of the problem,

Or are you part of the solution.

Are you part of the problem,

Or are you part of the solution.

What’s your contribution to life?

Taking Something Tragic & Fueling A Mission

What would you do if your son, daughter, husband, or wife died doing something you love to do? Would you give up on that activity? Maybe sue the company or business? Well, a few years ago, Alex & Natalia lost their son in an avalanche during a heli-skiing excursion in Alaska. Instead of rage or seeking revenge, Natalia & Alex took a different route. They used their son’s tragic accident as a calling and created the Nickolay Dodov Foundation. Their goal is simple… to provide FREE avalanche courses to educate youth and all-age winter enthusiasts. While people living near the ocean need to worry about things like riptides, here in the mountains, the worry is avalanches.

Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Alex and Natalia work hard all summer long from sun up to sun down. Instead of living the pampered life and chasing powder to ski wherever it snows, they take that money and put it into the Dodov Foundation. Not just money either. Like monks of the mountains, they travel across the state putting on avalanche seminars. From schools to children’s ski academies and everything in between, they are trying to teach the next generation on how to stay safe when playing in the mountains.

Help The Next Generation

Right now, they’re doing this 100% on their own with only a handful of sponsors. Their goal isn’t to become famous but rather continue to expand the amount of kids reached. If you know a class, school, or organization that wants a FREE class, reach out to Natalia. Or better yet, if you think what they’re doing is awesome and have a few bucks to spare, consider donating to the foundation. Every bit helps to reach just one more kid. Either way, Natalia will make sure she gives you “buckets of hugs” for helping.”

“Nickolay Dodov Foundation raises avalanche education for youth in Bear Valley” Calaveras Enterprise

By Noah Berner

While snow-covered slopes offer endless hours of fun for skiers and snowboarders, they can also pose a significant danger, especially to those untrained in avalanche safety.
But one local foundation is working to make sure that young winter sports enthusiasts have the skills necessary to stay safe.
On Feb. 8, the Nickolay Dodov Foundation (NDF) held its 7th annual free avalanche awareness presentation at Bear Valley Mountain Resort for members of the mountain’s youth ski and snowboard teams. The event was open to the public, and all ages attended.

The nonprofit NDF was formed by Bear Valley residents Alex and Natalia Dodov following the tragic loss of their son, Nickolay Dodov, to an avalanche in 2012. Since then, the NDF has been busy educating youth on how to stay safe in the mountains.
“In the last seven years, the NDF has reached out with free avalanche education, presenting the avalanche awareness program ‘Know Before You Go,’ and teaching avalanche workshops to more than 8,000 ski and snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, coaches, teachers, parents and all-age mountain enthusiasts,” the NDF website says.
The NDF has already held 10 educational events this winter, covering the state from Mammoth to Santa Cruz to Tahoe. In previous years, events have also been held in Nevada, Montana and Bulgaria.
The presentation was based on “Know Before You Go” (KBYG), a free avalanche awareness program developed by the Utah Avalanche Center, and available through its website at
At 3 p.m., the Sun Room at the resort filled with children and adults, most still wearing snow gear after having spent the day on the slopes.
The presentation began with a short film that featured skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers riding through backcountry powder. Shots of riders and avalanches were interspersed with avalanche stories and information on avalanche safety.
Following the film, Bear Valley Ski Patroller Scott Madden gave tips for staying safe at the resort.
“I’m in here … to help you all be aware of the various avalanche dangers within our boundaries,” he said. “There has been, to my knowledge at least, three inbounds avalanches that have killed people (in the U.S. this year).”
Madden encouraged skiers and snowboarders to respect the boundaries of the resort because areas outside of the ropes are an uncontrolled environment unmonitored by ski patrol.
“There are areas outside of our boundaries, especially (on the lower mountain), that are very dangerous,” he said. “Personally, I’ve been caught twice in small avalanches, and it’s amazing how little snow it takes to get you moving along.”
While most avalanche fatalities occur in the backcountry, Madden recommended carrying safety gear even on powder days at the resort.
“Beacon, shovel, probe – get them; wear them; don’t ski alone,” he said.
A beacon is a radio transceiver that can be worn by skiers and snowboarders. In the event of an avalanche, it can be used to locate buried riders. A probe is a collapsible pole that can be easily carried in a backpack and used to precisely locate an avalanche victim. A lightweight shovel can then be used free the rider from the snow by digging horizontally from downslope.
Other avalanche safety gear includes inflatable packs that help riders stay on the surface during an avalanche; AvaLungs that pull air from the snowpack and deposit carbon dioxide away from the body; and Recco reflectors that send out directional signals to help rescue teams locate avalanche victims.
Madden said that he and other ski patrollers would be happy to help train riders on the use of the equipment, and that he planned on organizing a practice area for the purpose at the top of the mountain. For more information on avalanche safety, he advised visiting the website of NDF-sponsor Backcountry Access at
Avalanche Educator Paul Henrickson said that the best way to stay safe was to avoid dangerous terrain.

“With a little bit of education, a little knowledge, some common sense and some good decision-making, you can enjoy the backcountry for a lifetime safely, and that’s exactly what we are here to help you do,” he said.
Henrickson said that the most dangerous slopes were between 30- and 45-degrees, because avalanches tend to occur naturally on steeper slopes and more gradual angles don’t allow slabs of snow to cut loose and start sliding.
“Avalanche hazard in California is relatively easy; we have avalanche hazard mostly during storm events and shortly after storm events,” he said. “It’s a maritime snowpack. It’s wet; it’s heavy, and within 24 to 48 hours after a storm cycle the snowpack generally stabilizes.”
Henrickson recommended always checking current local conditions at before going into the backcountry.
“The forecast is the easiest way to find out what’s going on with the snow,” he said.
Because riders tend to avoid avalanche terrain when the forecast shows a high degree of danger, most avalanche fatalities occur when the forecast shows moderate or considerable danger, Henrickson said.
“It’s the moderate and considerable days that actually catch the most people,” he said. “Those are the days that are the hardest to figure out.”
It’s important to maintain awareness of your surroundings in the backcountry, Henrickson said.
“If you’re out in the backcountry and there is a hazard, you always want to look at where would you go if the snow cuts loose,” he said. “So, you want to avoid being above trees and cliffs, and you want to avoid being right in the middle of a potential slide path. The safe places to be are on ridges; the dangerous places to be are down in gullies or at the bottom of bowls.”
Henrickson said that even with all of the proper gear and training, those fully buried in an avalanche still have only a 50% chance of surviving.
“That’s terrible odds, so avoid getting caught in an avalanche, educate yourself, make good decisions and don’t get caught,” he said. “The gear only works if you get training and you practice, practice, practice.”
Those interested in riding in the backcountry and on powder days at the resort should take an avalanche safety class, Henrickson said.
“If you feel like you are going to be going into the backcountry or the sidecountry, or you just like skiing Griz on a powder day, take a class,” he said. “Learn how to assess snow; learn how weather is a contributing factor; learn how to travel safely; learn how to deal with group dynamics; and learn how proper rescue scenarios go down.”
There is a huge need for avalanche education for youth in California, Natalia Dodov said.
“We just go whenever no one else can go, and it’s a really great feeling,” she said. “Kids are very smart; they are like sponges; they really think. We really believe it will touch some of them.”
Natalia Dodov said that one of NDF’s avalanche educators, Michael McCarthy, had recently developed a five-hour avalanche workshop for youth to bridge the gap between the KBYG program and a Level 1 avalanche class.
The foundation is bringing the workshop to Bear Valley in March, and in April, the resort will host the 7th Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle Competition, Natalia Dodov said. Several other events are already planned for February, and more are currently being scheduled for March.
Those interested in supporting NDF’s work can send checks to Nickolay Dodov Foundation, PO Box 5035, Bear Valley, CA 95223, or donate through Paypal at Donations are tax deductible, and contributors will receive an invoice for their records.

“Nickolay Dodov Foundation reaches out with free avalanche education to youth” By Noah Berner, Calaveras Enterprise, Oct 25, 2019

In the winter of 2012, local resident Nickolay Dodov lost his life in an avalanche at age 26 while heli-boarding in Haines, Alaska.
Following this tragedy, Dodov’s parents, Natalia and Alex Dodov, started the Nickolay Dodov Foundation (NDF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating youth and all ages of winter sports enthusiasts on how to stay safe in the mountains.

Since then, the NDF has provided free avalanche education through presentations, workshops and classes to over 8,000 skiers, snowboarders, students, coaches, teachers and parents.
Nickolay Dodov was born in Bulgaria and began skiing with his parents shortly after taking his first steps. He soon switched to snowboarding and eventually joined the Bulgarian National Junior Team.
After moving with his family to the United States at age 12, Nickolay Dodov continued to compete in competitive snowboarding events, including the Junior World Cup, the Tahoe Snowboard Series, the U.S. National Championship and the U.S. Open.
As he grew older, Nickolay Dodov turned to freestyle, slopestyle and backcountry snowboarding. After graduating from Bret Harte High School, he spent much of the last seven years of his life as a sponsored snowboarder in Truckee, snowmobiling and splitboarding with friends in the Sierra backcountry.
“We mostly go to youth, but we go to everyone who asks us,” Natalia Dodov said.
Last year, the foundation organized 12 “Know Before You Go” (KBYG) avalanche awareness presentations and seven avalanche workshops for more than 2,000 athletes and students, and also put on the sixth annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle competition at Bear Valley.
While most events are held in California, the NDF has also presented in Nevada and Montana, and organizes events in the Dodovs’ home country of Bulgaria. The organization has even translated the KBYG program into the Bulgarian language

Eight avalanche instructors work to carry out the mission of the foundation. The Dodovs organize and attend all of the events themselves, with the exception of those in Bulgaria.
The presentations are designed to engage young athletes and students with quizzes, interactive tests and outdoor avalanche companion rescue practices.

NDF-sponsor Skullcandy provides free headphones to be awarded afterwards, and NDF-sponsor Backcountry Access provides free avalanche gear – beacons, shovels, and probes – for the avalanche workshops.
In addition, NDF Avalanche Educator and chemistry scholar Michael McCarthy recently developed a five-hour interactive avalanche educational workshop for youth to fill out the gap between the KBYG program and a Level 1 avalanche class.
The foundation works with various partners, including Sierra Avalanche Center, Utah Avalanche Center and National Avalanche Center, which all operate in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.
Karl Birkeland, director of National Avalanche Center, has been one of the foundation’s biggest supporters. Following the accident, the Dodovs reached out to him
“They were sort of searching to make sense of the accident … which was an unspeakably difficult and trying thing … and one of the things that they were wanting to do was to try and make a real positive influence on people, and especially kids and avalanche education,” Birkeland said.
Birkeland connected the Dodovs with the KBYG program, which is operated out of Utah Avalanche Center and geared towards educating youth on avalanche safety.

“The National Avalanche Center is the small avalanche center with the big name, because we just have two employees, so you can imagine that there is only so much that we can do,” Birkeland said. “We really rely on the private sector and nonprofits and other people in the avalanche community to do a lot of the avalanche education.”

Over the past six years, National Avalanche Center has provided resources to help the NDF carry out its mission.
“To have really committed people like Alex and Natalia and all of the educators that work with them out there providing this information to all these kids, I find it just incredible and super gratifying,” Birkeland said. “They’re great people and I think they’re doing really great work … They can be a really powerful voice for avalanche safety.”
In 2014, the NDF created the Schmidt Award in honor of Marty and Denali Schmidt, a local father and son who lost their lives in an avalanche while climbing K2 in 2013. The award is given out annually to individuals or organizations for providing snow safety awareness and avalanche education to the snowsports community.
Since the NDF began organizing presentations, the Dodovs have received an abundance of positive feedback.
“You are making an incredible impact for our snowsports world,” Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy Board Member Daron Rahlves said. “Thank you so much! Nick is with you every step of the way!”

This year’s series of NDF programs will kick off on Oct. 26 with a presentation at a Bear Valley Adventure Company event in Bear Valley, where the Dodovs have lived and skied for the past 20 years.
“We are already scheduling many avalanche educational presentations and workshops for the upcoming snow season,” Natalia Dodov said. “It looks like it will be another busy winter with avalanche education. We will encourage and teach as many as we can to play on the snow and be safe. We believe that by educating youth we will save lives.”
The NDF accepts donations through Paypal on its website, Checks can be addressed to PO Box 5035, Bear Valley, CA 95223. The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a charitable 501c3 nonprofit organization (#46-3764229). All donations are tax deductible and supporters will receive an NDF invoice for their records.

Nickolay Dodov Foundation Summary of Avalanche Education Events for the Winter 2018/2019

The Winter of 2018/2019 was an EPIC ONE …. We skied 150 days …75 in the backcountry….and very busy for the Nickolay Dodov Foundation bringing Free Avalanche Education to youth and all ages mountain enthusiasts! As Founders of the Foundation, we have been traveling across California and Nevada from December 1st until May 5th in stormy weather and bluebird powder days to be at every presentation and workshop!
The new five hours interactive avalanche educational workshop for youth developed by the NDF Avalanche educator Chemistry Scholar Michael McCarthy  was a big success that filled out the gap between KBYG and Level 1 class!
Special THANK YOU  to the NDF Avalanche Educators Paul Henrickson, Michael McCarthy, Richard Bothwell, Duncan Lee, Georgi Georgiev, Hristo Ivanov, Jordan Smolitchi, Milena Padalska, Stanislav and Georgi Penev  for their passion, support and commitment to bring avalanche education!
All of these was possible thank you to our donors who are passionate about winter sports and Avalanche education!
We are very thankful for the BCA avalanche safety gear and the Scullcandy headphones that played  an important role in our presentations and workshops!
We would like to project a Big Thank you to the National Avalanche Center, Utah Avalanche Center and Sierra Avalanche Center for the support and partnership !
Special Thank you to the Nickolay Dodov 2019 Slopestyle sponsors for the amazing prizes; Reba Sport Shop, Hydro Flask, Stinky Socks, Scullcandy, Be Inspired, Sierra Nevada Adventure Company, Shred Soles, Hwy Four Store, All Good, A Singletrack Mind, Boyle Macdonald Wines, PowE Snowboards, Thrive Snowboards, Earth and Ocean Boardshop, New Earth Logic, Tamarack Lodge…and HUGE Thank you to all the friends who came out to support Nick’s event!
Have a nice Summer!… We are looking forward to see you next Winter! 
SUMMARY of Winter 2018/2019
December 2018 –
December 1st – One day Avalanche Workshop in Cabrillo College/Santa Cruz
December 3th  – KBYG Avalanche Awareness Presentations to the students of South Tahoe Middle School 
December 15th – KBYG Avalanche Awareness Presentations to the students of  Mammoth High School
January 2019-
January 4th – KBYG Avalanche Awareness Presentation to the ski and snowboard teams and public at Squaw Valley
January 5th -One day Avalanche Workshop to winter enthusiasts in Bear Valley
January 24th – 2 KBYG Avalanche Awareness Presentations to the students of Truckee Forest Charter School.
February 2019 –
February 24th -KBYG Avalanche Awareness Presentation to Yosemite Ski team and public
March 2019-
March 15th – 2 KBYG presentations to 7th and 8th grate students at Sonora Elementary School
March 16th and 17th Avalanche workshop in Borovets, Bulgaria
March 23th – Avalanche Workshop with inbound, soft boundary safety lecture and beacon search practice session to the Bear Valley Ski Teams
March 28th – 2 KBYG presentations to the students of South Tahoe High School
April 2019 –
April 11th – 3 KBYG Presentations to the students and ski team of George Whittell High School
April 20th – 6th Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle in Bear Valley
April 27th – Motorizes Avalanche Workshop for the Sled fest in  Bear valley 
May 2019 –
May 4th – 5 hour Interactive Avalanche Educational Workshop for youth at Heavenly for Heavenly, South Tahoe High School and George Whittell High School ski and snowboard athletes! 
May 5th – 5 hour Interactive Avalanche Educational Workshop for youth to Sugar Bowl Academy free ride and race team athletes!
Some feedback for the NDF work
Nickolay Dodov Foundation rock on! You are saving lives! It is a beautiful thing and I know that Nick is very proud of that remarkable accomplishment!
Craig Gordon
Utah Avalanche Center
Founder of KBYG Program


You are making an incredible impact for our Snow sports world! Thank you so much! Nick is there with you every step of the way!
Daron Rahlves
Sugar Bowl Ski Team&Academy Board of Trustee


You are rocking it! Thanks for all you do!
Karl Birkelnad
Director of National Avalanche Center
Amazing people with an amazing mission! I am beyond proud to be a part of the Nickolay Dodov Foundation educators team! You two feel so many people with love and are helping the World to be a better place!
Duncan Lee
Professional Backcountry Snowmobiler
AIARE Avalanche Educator
Sierra Avalanche Center Adviser

I look forward to the NDF Slopestyle event all year. Not only do I get to send it, but the people participating and hosting the event are the best. There are great friends and great vibes on the mountain. I cannot wait for next years event and also to attend some of the great NDF Avalanche presentations and workshops!

Geo Alber 13 years old – 2x Winner NDF 12 and under

Thank you notes from coaches and teachers to the NDF


I just wanted to reach out and tell you how grateful I am for people like you and Alex!  Your enthusiasm and dedication to the education of our youngsters is unparalleled!  You’re literally the nicest people ever.  I thought Michael ran an excellent workshop that really kept kids engaged and willing to learn. I’ve been a part of many clinics and this was by far the best interaction within the class I’ve seen.
I really look forward to working with your foundation in the future and you can count on returning to Sugar Bowl Academy in the Fall/Winter to further our relationship and the kids educational opportunities with avalanche education!

I can’t thank you enough Natalia and Alex !

Sean Carey, Director of Freeride
Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy


We would like to project a big gigantic thank you to the Nickolay Dodov Foundation.   I couldn’t believe it when Natalia reached out to me with her idea of coming to Mammoth to present their program to our student athletes.  From the very beginning their foundation made it so easy to organize the presentation by communicating with our school and providing posters for the event.  There is very little money in the California public school systems to pay for any “extra” programs especially in athletics.  Without the foundation, there would not had been this opportunity for the foundations’s all-important life education.  Our students live at 8,000 feet surrounded by mountains up to 14,000 feet.  The natural environment around us, pose a realistic threat to all of us.  The Nickolay Dodov Foundation presented the realistic hazards of our environment.  The kids were completely engaged, intrigued and moved by the presentation and it made a long lasting impact on their actions where the typical teenage behavior is not to think about consequences of their actions.  At this age, they  think they are invisible.   With the huge records amounts of snow we received this winter at Mammoth (we’ll be skiing on it until August and we are still susceptible to avalanches), our community was constantly presented with the fatal possibilities of avalanches.  It is impossible to measure how many lives the Nickolay Dodov Foundation has saved (probably many), but if it made just one person think before exposing themselves to a fatal circumstance, it was so so worth it.   From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU Nickolay Dodov Foundation!  We hope they can return every year.
Connie Moyer
Mammoth High School Ski and Snowboard Team Director
CNISSF State Champions 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019
The Nickolay Dodov Foundation has brought hours of avalanche education and mountain inspiration to the students at South Tahoe High School in the last four years.  Each year their program touches lives, motivates athletes, and increases awareness in our growing mountain tribe.  Their educators are among the best and cater their lessons and presentations to fit the audience.  It is an honor to work with them in this necessary effort to educate our youth about safe backcountry travel.
Jillian Raymond
History department South Tahoe High School
NDF is doing amazing things for our young snow sport athletes today. When I was younger, I never even considered how many variables there can be in backcountry riding. I knew about avalanches, but had very little knowledge about how to approach any backcountry work, and so I avoided it. I’m grateful to have been able to see the amazing NDF presentation with our ski and snowboard team. It inspired me to buy beacons for myself and my husband. We plan to take an Aiarie 1 course next fall so we can get even more educated on backcountry safety & reading/understanding snow conditions for those fun adventures! Thanks NDF!!!
Emma Rommo
Snowboard coach Mammoth High School
Good Morning Natalia and Alex,
On behalf of everyone here, I thank you for making the journey to Yosemite to educate our ski team. As you guys know, it’s critical that we build our knowledge of snow science and potential hazards at the same time we are building our skiing/riding skills. Your avalanche presentation gave this team a lot to think about in regards to training, snow safety, and decision-making. It was well-presented, engaging, and perfectly customized for our youngest skiers. Definitely a winter highlight for this group and we look forward to working with you next year! Again, thank you for your dedication and energy and please give our best to Paul.
Happy skiing!
Kelsey and the Yosemite Ski Team


Forest Charter School greatly appreciates the program offered to our school from Nickolay Dodov Foundation in January of 2019. Richard Bothwell, Natalia and Alex created a dynamic presentation which captivated our K-12 students. Through two educational and informative presentations, the students learned about snow safety, decision making, safety gear, slope management and backcountry travel. The students were enthusiastic and supported in asking questions, sharing experiences and learning throughout the day. We will continue to utilize the education provided in our snow safety awareness and student support. We greatly appreciate the opportunity and will continue to seek further collaboration with Nickolay Dodov Foundation in the future.
Mark Keim
5/6 Grade Teacher
Forest Charter School

​The Nickolay Dodov Foundation presented to our South Tahoe Middle school ski team in the fall and our students loved it. The foundations avalanche educator Richard broke down the avalanche science extremely well for our students and kept them engaged the entire presentation. the ski team walked away with some practical knowledge of avalanche safety and some cool bonus gear too. We can’t wait to have the Nickolay Dodov Foundation back next year to spread the word about backcountry safety to even more students.

James Seider (Educator at South Tahoe Middle School in South Lake Tahoe)


The Nikolay Dodov Foundation visited Whittell High School this winter to present their Know Before You Go Workshop to my 8th grade science classes and our Alpine Ski Team athletes. The workshop was incredibly engaging for my students, and they really saw the importance of education and proper skills when travelling in the back country. They loved the video, they loved learning about the snow science of avalanches, and they were very excited about receiving headphones as prizes. Our ski team athletes left the workshop with more awareness about the risks when skiing outside of the resort, and they can’t wait for the foundation to return next year and do an on-snow workshop.
I highly recommend the workshop for any ski team or classroom. They do a great job of adapting the workshop for the ages and interests of the students, so all students walk away with more awareness and the desire to keep learning.
Madeline Cronk
Science Teacher and Alpine Ski Team Coach at George Whittell High School


The Foundation was able to come to Sonora Elementary School this past winter and share a hands on dynamic presentation. The student athletes were able to participate in critical discussions, see new material and equipment that was demonstrated by highly skilled and qualified individuals. The presentation is engaging and beautifully designed. The kids are now able to carry the lessons onto the slopes.

Josette Alomia-Brown. Physical Education 4-8th grade Sonora Elementary School


6th Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle in Bear Valley, Saturday, April 6th!!!



Nickolay Dodov Foundation is traveling with many free avalanche education events to youth and all ages mountain enthusiasts from the begging of the Snow season 2018/2019


via Nickolay Dodov Foundation is traveling with many free avalanche education events to youth and all ages mountain enthusiasts from the begging of the Snow season 2018/2019