“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 kbyg.org.
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 backcountryaccess.com.
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 sierraavalanchecenter.org 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 nickolaydodovfoundation.com/donate. Donations are tax deductible, and contributors will receive an invoice for their records.

http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/news/article_119db4c2-536d-11ea-9748-13c3daca0a9c.html

“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, nickolaydodovfoundation.com. 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.

http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/community/article_3f5571ae-f74a-11e9-a289-e3990552ed08.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

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

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253THE 6TH ANNUAL NICKOLAY DODOV SLOPESTYLE!!! …APRIL 6TH AT BEAR VALLEY RESORT!!!! ….SAVE THE DATE!!!!…9-10am registration in the Sun Room ….10-11am Practice ….11am Completion Starts ….3pm Awards on Sun Deck….. COME TO SHRED WITH US AND SHARE GOOOOD VIBES WITH NICK’S TRIBE!!!! …. GOODY BAGS FOR ALL THE COMPETITORS AND AMAZING PRIZES FOR THE WINNERS …. LIFE MUSIC WITH JANKTONES AND NEW EARTH LOGIC!!!!!……THE GOOD VIBE TRIBE WILL TROW A PARTY IN THE END OF THE DAY!!!…WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVE YOU WITH US!!!

“Bear Valley, CA Resident Teaching ‘Know Before You Go’ Avalanche Awareness to Californian Schools and Ski Resorts” SnowBrains Media-AvyBrains/September 10, 2018

We are reaching out with avalanche education in the light of our son who was killed in avalanche in Alaska

31243_1423302913167_2751218_n.jpgOUR 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

Support Avalanche Safety and Dodov Foundation

 

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!

https://www.gofundme.com/avalanchedodov

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.

http://www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com

501c3 nonprofit organization 46-3764229
© 2013-2016 Nickolay Dodov Foundation | All Rights Reserved.

 

Know Before You Go

 

The Winter Season of 2015/2016  Nickolay Dodov Foundation had 15 presentations of the  Avalanche Awareness program “Know Before You Go” to more than 1200 ski and snowboard racers, middle and high school students, coaches, parents and public!

November 8th – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had a presentation of KBYG to the Squaw Valley Race teams, coaches and parents
December 6th – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had a presentation of KBYG to the Sierra at Tahoe Race teams, coaches and parents
December 12th -Nickolay Dodov Foundation had a presentation of KBYG the Bear Valley Public. Utah Avalanche Center presented. The Founders of the program Craig Gordon and Paul Diegel came to Bear valley to present from the name of the Foundation.
December 18th – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had 6 presentations of KBYG to the 7th and 8th grades students at Avery Middle School
December 29th – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had a presentation of KBYG to the Kirkwood race teams, coaches and parents
January 24th – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had a presentation of Know Before You Go to our Bear Valley race and Devo teams, coaches and parents.
February 20th – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had a presentation of KBYG to the Dodge Ridge race teams, coaches and parents

March 22nd – Nickolay Dodov Foundation had three presentations of KBYG to more that 200 students at South Tahoe High School 

In the month of December with the help of the Director of The National Avalanche Center, Karl Birkelnad and the help of the mountain guide and avalanche educator Georgi Georgiev from The Free Mountains Associations the Avalanche Safety brochure was translated and printed in Bulgarian language and spread over the mountain resorts in Bulgaria.

 

Nick Dodov was a member of Sierra at Tahoe snowboard team. On December 6th Nickolay Dodov Foundation presented KBYG avalanche awareness program to Sierra at Tahoe race teams, rippers, coaches and parents.055

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On December 12th  Nickolay Dodov Foundation presented  Know Before You Go to Bear Valley Public. The Founders of the program Craig Gordon and Paul Diegel came to Bear Valley to present from the name of the Foundation.

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On December 12th The Annual Winter Sports History Night honored Nickolay Dodov Foundation with the Ebbetts Pass History Annual Award

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On December 18th The Nickolay Dodov Foundation Presented the Avalanche Awareness Program KBYG to Avery Middle School. The Foundation avalanche educator Paul Henrickson presented six presentations of Know Before You Go to 150 students from 7th and 8th grade in their science class.

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On December 29th Nickolay Dodov Foundation Presented  KBYG Avalanche Awareness Program to Kirkwood race teams, coaches and parents

 

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On January 23th Nickolay Dodov Foundation Presented KBYG Avalanche Awareness Program to Bear Valley Ski teams, coaches and parents

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On February 20th Nickolay Dodov Foundation Presented KBYG Avalanche Awareness Program to the Dodge Ridge race teams, coaches and parents

 

 

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In the month of December with the help of the Director of The National Avalanche Center, Karl Birkelnad and the help of the mountain guide and avalanche educator Georgi Georgiev from The Free Mountains Associations the Avalanche Safety brochure was translated and printed in Bulgarian language and spread over the mountain resorts in Bulgaria. 12374932_10153092094821307_442127481578055717_o.jpg168.JPG