Nickolay Dodov Snow Sports Safety Foundation Proposal to Improve Safety for the Heli-Skiing Industry in the US

alexnatalianickdodov

 

All heliski permits should be issued and administered by an independent 3rd party. This party should be unified with the top experts in the field and a government body to set the industry mandatory standards & policies.

The most respected and experienced guides input should be included for this government standardization process.

Safety plans, Search and Rescue protocols must be standardized for all of the Commercial Heliskiing Operators in US and must be monitored and enforced by a Federal Authority.

Safety plans, search and rescue protocols must be submitted to the US Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Liability release forms must have a clear understanding to hold the heliskiing operator responsible in case of gross negligence and criminal negligence, as well as clients must have a clear understanding of the inherent risks.

All the Commercial heliskiing operations in the US must introduce their Heli-Ski…

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Nickolay Dodov Snow Sports Safety Foundation Proposal to Improve Safety for the Heli-Skiing Industry in the US

 

All heliski permits should be issued and administered by an independent 3rd party. This party should be unified with the top experts in the field and a government body to set the industry mandatory standards & policies.

The most respected and experienced guides input should be included for this government standardization process.

Safety plans, Search and Rescue protocols must be standardized for all of the Commercial Heliskiing Operators in US and must be monitored and enforced by a Federal Authority.

Safety plans, search and rescue protocols must be submitted to the US Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Liability release forms must have a clear understanding to hold the heliskiing operator responsible in case of gross negligence and criminal negligence, as well as clients must have a clear understanding of the inherent risks.

All the Commercial heliskiing operations in the US must introduce their Heli-Ski clients to the existing weather pattern, snow pack and how it relates to the surrounding mountains. Clients must be advised regarding the possible dangers.

All Commercial heliskiing operators in the US must collect, observe and discuss weather, snow reports and avalanche conditions from all sources available each day. All Heli-Ski clients must be involved in the discussions of: weather, snow reports and avalanche conditions. Heli-Ski Clients will be part of the discussions and in the decision making of each day before they sign the daily release forms.

Every Heli-Ski client should be required to have at minimum a Level I Avalanche course completed and Wilderness First Aid Class

All the guides and the Heli-Ski clients must wear & use the latest safety equipment; Air backpack and breathing device AvaLung.

All guides must check the readiness of each Heli-Ski client’s safety devices before leaving the operations base and before each run.

Snow observation i.e. a test pit and ski cutting must be required on every exposure. The Heli-Ski clients must be informed of the result before they are allowed to ski the run.

Two guides must be required for each group of Heli-Ski clients for all Commercial heliskiing operations in the US. One of the guides must ski the chosen terrain before all of the clients.  One guide must wait at the top and ski down after the last Heli-Ski client completes his or her’s run.

When an avalanche occurs every guide and Heli-Ski client available must participate in the search and rescue mission.

Search and Rescue Centers must be establish in a central location where heliskiing operations are present. Each Heli-Ski Operation must contribute to it and participate in case of emergency.

All Commercial Heliskiing operations in the US must have adequate numbers of helicopters to respond in a timely manner when an emergency or a search and rescue occurs.

Every injured Heli-Ski Client or a Guide must be transported to the nearest hospital.

All Commercial Heliskiing Guides must participate in on-going training. All Commercial Heliskiing Guides must practice Avalanche Safety, Search and Rescue procedures and protocol & First Aid drills throughout the Heli-Ski season.

Every new Heli-Ski Guide must apprentice and train for a minimum of two years before he or she is allowed to guide & lead clients.

All Commercial Heliskiing Guides must carry a memo log, and complete all snow observation results each day. Radio communication must be available to all clients, guides and the base of the Heliskiing Operation.

Radio communication must be recorded and GPS data available in case of accident.

ZERO tolerance of drugs and alcohol.

All Commercial Heliskiing Operators in the US must have a drug screening policy for their employees.

A standardized code of conduct should be adopted by Heli-Ski Operators in regards to the Heli-Ski Client, i.e. consumption of drugs or alcohol while clients of a Heli-Ski Operator.

All Commercial Heli-Ski operators must be responsible for the information on their websites and printed materials.  All information must be true, accurate and up to date.

We wish to all the clients and guides heli-skiing in the US many happy and safe spectacular days.

New York Times; “After Everest Disaster, Sherpas Contemplate Strike”

From the name of Nickolay Dodov Snow Sports Safety Foundation, we strongly support the Sherpa’s strike for safer working environment, fair pay and compensations for their dangerous job. The Sherpas are the first to climb the routs, to set the ropes, to carry the equipment/supplies, to build the camps and to help everybody when they get in trouble. The Sherpas are the ones behind the success of every expedition on the highest mountains in the Himalayas. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and the whole Sherpa community.
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New York Times

After Everest Disaster, Sherpas Contemplate Strike

 

 

 

 

Nickolay Dodov Foundation Snow Sports Safety Video

Nickolay Dodov Foundation safety video features safety tips from Professional Snowboarder John Jackson, Bear Valley Terrain Park Manager Mike Schimke and Bear Valley Ski Patrol Director Mattly Trent.

Click on the thumbnail to watch the video.

 

 

 

 

“Heli-skiing in the United States – Guidelines vs. Standards”

CHILKAT VALLEY NEWS

April 10, 2014 | Volume 44, Number 14

Heli-skiing in the United States – Guidelines vs. Standards 

by Natalia and Alex Dodov

 

The recent March 15th Haines avalanche death is the fourth fatality in conditions rated “Considerable Danger.” It shows an obvious pattern of profits over safety: In 2012, Nickolay Dodov and guide Rob Liberman were killed in a massive avalanche after five feet of new snow, growing  surface hoar, an overnight strong wind storm that overloaded the mountain bowls and the gullies with wind deposit snow. In 2013, guide Christian Cabanilla was killed after an overloaded cornice collapsed that set off an avalanche. In 2014, guide Aaron Karitis was killed in an avalanche after three weeks of unusually dangerous conditions.

Unregulated heli-skiing industry in the United States, ruled by its own insurance, left the door open for negligence. US Heli-Ski Association, instead of setting mandatory safety standards and protocols, has recommended safety guidelines based on self imposed safety standards and self certified heli guides. US Heli-Ski Association mission is; “To ensure and protect the future of helicopter skiing in the US”

Canada is the worldwide leader in heliskiing industry. They have been highly regulated by the government since the early 1970’s.

If the multimillion dollar heliskiing industry in the US was serious about regulating their safety standards, they would have adopted the US Army’s Tenth Mountain Division strict safety standards years ago.

Two years ago, after our son was killed in an avalanche in Haines, we requested from the US Heliskiing Association to see their strict safety standards, as this was stated on their website. Their response was a letter to the senators stating that they did not want to be regulated, and refused farther discussion of the matter.

“Fatal accidents like the one last spring (2012) only increase the volume of that clamor. But people need to remember, Points North owner Kevin Quinn said, heli-skiing is an inherently risky activity. And not even a litany of rules and regulations can guarantee that nothing will go wrong. Being a part of heliski US wouldn’t have saved those people,” Quinn said. “Not even kind of.”

This is the extend that the heliskiing industry in the US is willing to go to; casual self regulation instead of mandatory safety standards.

Policies

Policies consist of high level mandatory statements

Standards

Standards consist of specific low level specific mandatory controls

Guidelines

Guidelines consist of recommended, non-mandatory controls

Every heli skiing operator in the US, member or non- member of the US Heli-Ski Association, have stated on their websites and operating plans that they have been operating under strict safety standards. This information should be considered fraudulent. Heliskiing in the United States has never been regulated. Therefore no state or federal authority has set safety standards for this industry.

It appears that the Heliskiing industry insurance company supported by law enforcement, labor safety, land managements, local authorities, avalanche forecasters, main stream media were able to suppress and cover up information and details of the events related to the deadly incidents.

We are concerned that desperately needed changes will not happen in the foreseeable future. This leaves us with a dangerous environment for the clients and the guides in the US heliskiing industry.

We have started Nickolay Dodov Foundation for snow sports safety. The foundation’s mission is; To promote snow sports safety and awareness through educational programs and events. To encourage children and enthusiasts of all ages to safely explore the beauty of the mountains and to inspire a healthy and positive lifestyle in the light of Nickolay Dodov.

Foe events and updates you can visit Nickolay Dodov Foundation website. www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com

For more details and information you can visit our blog alexnatalianickolaydodov at WordPress

alexnatalianickdodovdotcom.wordpress.com

To see the full article in Chilkat Valley News click on the link below

 Heli-skiing in United States Guidelines vs. Standards

Video from the Second Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle

Here is the video from the 2nd Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle! Sponsored by Bear Valley Mountain and the Nickolay Dodov Foundation!! This was a great event!! We had so many people show up to ride, hangout, celebrate and remember NICKOLAY!!! Please share and let’s generate some energy for the 3rd Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle!!