OUR Nick was killed in avalanche on Thankin Ridge, Haines, Alaska on March 13, 2012. Nick was heli snowboarding under the supervision of Alaska Heli-skiing Company out of Haines. From our investigation we discovered that AH ignored obvious red flags. Recent five feet snow storm, wind storm over night prior to the avalanche and rapid warming. Profit over safety. AH didn’t follow any of its own safety protocols. The AH Company didn’t have drug screening policy. Nick’s guide Rob Liberman, who also died in the avalanche autopsy reveled that his THC levels were 3 times higher than normal background. Therefore he was stoned. Nick was buried under the snow for 1 hour and 27 minutes. Search and rescue began 47 minutes after the avalanche happened. Nick had an Avalung in his mouth, if they would recover Nick under 1 hour and 15 minutes he would survived. He also carried an Air backpack, unfortunately he couldn’t use it, the rip cord was zip in. The AH guides didn’t wear air backpacks and were talking sarcastically about them and quoting that when there time comes this is fine by them. This why they didn’t have the practice t check the readiness after get out of the helicopter. On the top of the fatale run the group of clients was insured that they should not worry everything will be fine this is just an open alpine bowl with rolling hills with steepness between 35-45*…. in considerable conditions. We have a go pro footage of the time frame from all the events and the witnesses stamens. There were two groups of clients and two guides at the scene. Only the two guides end four survivals from Nick group took place in the search and rescue. After they recovered Nick he still had a heart beat, they didn’t fly Nick to the medical center, he was dropped at the base at AH , 33 miles from Haines to wait for Paramedic car… and the most cruel thing AH, Medical center, VOGA Insurance and the Trooper Department and Haines Bureau did it was to cover up their mistakes by sending Nick to Seattle to die in another state to prevent investigation. AH didn’t file an accident report neither to the of Alaska or to the National Avalanche Center until six month later and it was falsified. We started with free avalanche educational project with the hope that by educating the next generation we can prevent future fatalities
It is very hard to find the words to describe our lost.
Nickolay was not our only son, he was our best friend, our beast team made, our teacher in many ways. He was very special young man, his light was so bright, everyone who had the opportunity to know him, was amazed of his talents, wisdom, his big smile and huge heart, always ready to help everyone.
My husbands Alex and I with the help of good friends have started Nickolay Dodov Foundation four years ago… We started reaching out with free avalanche educational programs with the hope that by educating the next generation we can prevent future fatalities… and save lives!
The mission of the Foundation is to spread avalanche awareness to all who enjoy the snow mountains… but the most to our youth… Our Foundation is brought up from our love for Nick!… From our love for the mountains!… From our love for skiing in the backcountry!
In the last three years we have reached out with the avalanche awareness program KBYG to close to 6000 ski and snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, coaches, teachers and parents…..With the hope that by being able to reach out with avalanche education we will save lives!
The movement and the progress of reaching to youth with free avalanche education is so meaningful for us… feels like Nick is right next to us. … with his big beautiful smile….The Foundation gives Alex and me a huge powerful positive purpose…We are VERY THANKFUL to be connected with Karl Birkeland, Doug Chabot, Craig Gordon, Richard Bothwell, Bruce Tremper, Paul Diegel, Don Triplet and all avalanche educators… we feel like Nick is orchestrating it all.. Powerful good feeling!…We are so very passion about spreading avalanche education especially to youth…. we feel like all the kids we reach out to with KBYG are our kids now .. and we always will encourage them to go and play on the mountains…and will continue spread avalanche awareness and educate them to travel safe in the snow…especially to youth….together with our love for the mountains…for life… for hikes, skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, skateboarding…sharing good moments… good food with friends..as our Nick did…
We live in a small ski resort Bear valley, California and we ride the mountain every given day. We have 100+ ski days … half of them in the backcountry… ALWAYS FIRST CHAIR on POWDER DAYS! My husband Alex was a professional athlete in ski and snowboarding, rock climbing and mountaineering. He was for two years in Mountain Alpine Division. We used to run private ski and snowboard school and Alex worked with the first heli ski company in Bulgaria. In the Summer time Alex had a Sky Genie business; working on sky scrapers, factory chimney, power towers and bridges using his climbing belaying skills. Our son Nick was a member of Bulgarian National Snowboard Team. He competed in the Junior World Cup in Telluride in 1999. After we moved to California, Nick competed in Tahoe Series, US National Series and US Open in slalom, boarder cross, slope style. For over seven years Nick was living in Truckee in the heart of the snowboard industry. He was sponsored by different companies, having 100+ snowboard days half of the days snowmobiling and split snowboarding backcountry adventures. Nick was very well know as a very good snowboarder and the one always looking for the safety for himself and everybody else. Nick was also an avid surfer and amazing artist…..We will continue to encourage and teach as many as we can to play on the snow and be safe!…We will continue our Foundation work in the light of our Nick!…www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com
For the months of December, January, February and March Nickolay Dodov Foundation presented 12 presentations of the avalanche awareness program Know Before You Go to more than 1500 ski/snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, coaches, teachers and parents. In April the Foundation had two educational avalanche workshops.
December – Heavenly ski/snowboard teams
January – Kirkwood Big Mountain ski/snowboard teams and Alpine race teams, Mt Shasta ski/snowboard teams
February – Avery Middle School, Bret Harte High School, two presentations at South Tahoe High School, Bear Valley ski/snowboard teams, two presentation at Squaw Valley to Big mountain ski/snowboard teams and Alpine race teams,
Montana State University to the Backcountry Club -with the help and support of the Forest Service National Avalanche Center, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center and Montana State University Backcountry Club presented KBYG to Montana State University Students. Karl Birkeland /The Director of the Forest Service National Avalanche Center, Doug Chabot /The Director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center and Jordy Hendrikx /The Director of the Snow and Avalanche Lab at MSU for presented KBYG in behalf of the Nickolay Dodov Foundation
March – Bulgaria, mountain hut Skakavica, Free Mountain Association and their mountain guides and avalanche educators Georgi Georgiev, Jordan Smolitchki and Hristo Ivanov presented the Avalanche Awareness Program “Know Before You Go” in behalf of Nickolay Dodov Foundation to the mountain enthusiasts, guides and search and rescue from the mountaineering clubs Nickola Dodov and Seven Rela Lakes and visitors from Macedonia! Great two days presentation and workshop!
April – Snowmobile Avalanche Safety workshop to the Stanislaus National Forest Rangers with Specialized motorized AIARE Avalanche Educator Duncan Lee and our Foundation first two day AIARE Avalanche workshop for Kirkwood coaches and mountain enthusiasts with AIARE Avalanche Educator Michael McCarthy. We had the two Olympians Kyle Rasmussen and Daron Rahlves who came to take the workshop and to Support our Foundation!!!
Two years ago with the help of Karl Birkelnad, Director of The National Avalanche Center, Craig Gordon and Paul Diegel from Utah Avalanche Center, and Georgi Georgiev, mountain guide and avalanche educator from The Free Mountains Associations Nickolay Dodov Foundation has translated KBYG Program in Bulgarian language and has been organizing presentations in Bulgaria! We also have translated the Avalanche Safety brochure into Bulgarian language to be distributed to the mountain resorts, ski and snowboard teams and mountain huts in Bulgaria.
In the last three years we have reached out with the avalanche awareness program KBYG to close to 6000 ski and snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, coaches, teachers and parents…..With the hope that by being able to reach out with avalanche education we will save lives!…
Our Foundation goal for the next year is to bring Avalanche workshops to all of the ski and snowboard teams we had been with KBYG to prepare them for Level 1 Avalanche classes and to bring KBYG to ski and snowboard teams and schools where we haven’t been yet!
My husbands Alex and I have started Nickolay Dodov Foundation four years ago…
The mission of the Foundation is to spread avalanche awareness to all who enjoy the snow mountains… but the most to our youth…. ….With the hope that by being able to reach out with avalanche education we will save lives!…
Our Foundation is brought up from our love for Nick!… From our love for the mountains!… From our love for skiing in the backcountry!… We will continue to encourage and teach as many as we can to play on the snow and be safe!…We will continue our Foundation work in the light of our Nick!…
If you would like to support the Nickolay Dodov Foundation we are charitable 501c3 nonprofit organization #46-3764229. All donations are tax deductible (you will receive a NDF invoice) You can donate at our website www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com You can send us a check to Nickolay Dodov Foundation, PoBox 5035, Bear Valley Ca 95223 You can support us through your charitable organization
We will be very thankful if you can help and support our Foundation to reach out with avalanche education!
Alaska Heliskiing removed their advertising post on facebook yesterday because of our comment…. Was it the ghost from the past that they wished to be rid of ….
Alaska Heliskiing facebook page state it;
Alaska Heliskiing is feeling like getting in on the action in Haines, Alaska.
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make your wildest dreams come true!”…. and a photo of deep blue bird day on an Alaskan spine
The moment we read : “Make your wildest dreams come true!” …. It felt like struck by lightning ….Loosing our son who followed his wildest dreams to snowboard the Alaska dream snow with Alaska Heliskiing
NataliaAlex Dodov : Because of the gross negligence of Alaska Heliskiing our son didn’t come home…. His heli guide Rob Liberman was under influence with THC levels 3 times higher than normal background… Beware that they don’t have insurance coverage ….You should get life insurance…..They operate under gambling and amusement park license…Check their drug screening policy…..Take an Avy class before you sign with this guides to make sure that you will be part of the decision making….Bring Avy bag and AvaLung ….Check the Avy bag rip cord every time you leave the helicopter….Go with your best friends you train with in the backcountry search and rescue drills because they will be the ones to save you if something goes wrong…Our son was under the snow for an hour and 27minutes and there were two guides with sixteen clients who didn’t start the search and rescue until 47 minutes after the avalanche happened…If you want to learn more go to our blog https://alexnatalianickdodovdotcom.wordpress.com/
We are not surprised…. Knowing from our experience that Alaska Heliskiing will do anything to hide and cover up to come out clean …..We fear that nothing has changed in the heliskiing industry regulations.
More articles coming soon.
Source: CALIFORNIA AVALANCHE WORKSHOP