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
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.
- During the course of the lawsuit Dodov vs. Alaska Heliskiing we didn’t take the insulting settlement. We closed the lawsuit against Alaska Heliskikiing in the Federal Court as a self presented without prejudice. The lawsuit again Alaska Heliskiing in Alaska State Court was administratively closed and it can be reopen at any time with no statue of limitation. Statue of Limitation for Fraught is ten years.
- Alaska Heliskiing is operating with low coverage Insufficient insurance advised by WOGA (Worldwide Outfitter & Guides Association). US Heli Association stated in 2012 on it’s own website that is part of WOGA insurance.
- The non profit organization Alaska Avalanche Information Center is operating with Kevin Quinn (The President of U.S. Heli Association) as Manager, and Eric Stevens(The Haines Avalanche Forecaster) as Secretary.
- The lesson to be learn from the deadly avalanche in Haines
by Carol Arvidsson;
Every little bit we do, can help people learn about avalanche danger, especially THIS year in the West.
Our son Erik was in an avalanche last winter in Austria. Two amazing men, his teammates, Bryce Astle from Sandy, Utah and Ronnie Berlack, from Franconia New Hampshire, athletes on the US Ski Team, did not survive. The loss is shared by the ski racing community, their friends and neighbors and most deeply of course felt by their families. After a year, it seems we miss them even more.
In Bear Valley, our family’s original ski town, Natalia and Alex Dodov, lost their only son in an avalanche, almost 3 years ago. The Nicolay Dodov Foundation was begun by the Dodovs and their extended Bear Valley community to bring education and awareness to youth in memory of Nic. The work they are doing is amazing!
Please click on the link and support with donation!
The goal of this campaign is to raise funding for avalanche education and safety in the snow to youth in the Sierra Nevada region and beyond.
Nicolay Dodov Foundation was begun as a tribute to Nickoay Dodov who was killed while Snowboarding in Haynes Alaska 2012. Nick was the only child of Alec and Natalia Dodov who live in Bear Valley California, and are originally from Bulgaria. The Dodovs have devoted their lives to the Mission of the Foundation in memory of Nicolay:
“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.
In the past 2 years, with only a small budget from friends and family , the Foundation has been able to :
-Provide funding for the new Know Before you Go Avalanche Video produced by Utah Avalanche Center and Colorado Avalanche Information Center
-Provide Funding to the Sierra Avalance Center
-Present an Avalanche Safety Program including Know Before you Go to clubs and schools in California including, USSA Far West skiers and coaches, Kirkwood Ski team, Sierra at Tahoe Race Team, Bear Valley Community and Race teams and Avery Middle Schools. All of these sessions have been given free of charge.
Currently the Foundation has more requests for sessions then their budget allows. The program is unique in that it blends youthful energy with important education about winter safety. Avalanche expertise requires detailed training both in a classroom and on snow, but the first step is understanding what to look for on a daily basis, and how to minimize risk. “Know Before You Go is a free avalanche awareness program. Not much science, no warnings to stay out of the mountains, no formulas to memorize. In 1 hour, you will see the destructive power of avalanches, understand when and why they happen, and how you can have fun in the mountains and avoid avalanches.” (KBYBG video introduction)
The Dodov Foundation’s session provides the first step in education. Additionally, the Foundation will continue to support larger non profits who share their mission, specifically: Sierra Avalanche Center, Avalanche.org, Utah Avalanche Center , and Colorado Avalanche Information Center as a way to honor others who have lost loved ones in avalanches.
The foundation needs help to fund more seminars, and to complete a new goal: to take the next step in safety by providing one set of avalanche safety equipment and basic training to a core team at every club and organization that they visit. The costs incurred to the foundation for each session range from $50-250, and the cost of basic avalanche equipment
( beacon, probe and shovel) that they would like to give to each club for on-site training is $325.00 plus expenses for a certified Avalanche instructor .
This campaign is for $10,000 , so the Dodovs can plan a year of 10-15 additional sessions and provide grants to the organizations listed above .
There have been 7 avalanche fatalities in 2016 already in the United States, and over 40 listed avalanche incidents by the Sierra Avalanche Center in California alone. This is the year to Know before you GO!
Thanks for your support.
501c3 nonprofit organization 46-3764229
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