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.

“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 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!…

A ghost from the past…


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

We commented:

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

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.

Upcoming; Articles, Details and Documents About the Lawsuit Dodov vs Alaska Heliskiing

Canon 095

  • 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

Chilkat Valley News; “Dodovs say they’re ending heli-ski suit”

Dodovs say they’re ending heli-ski suit

Chilkat Valley News

February 12, 2015 | Volume 45, Issue 6  | View PDF

By Karen Garcia

Parents of an Alaska Heliskiing client who died in a 2012 avalanche said this week they are dropping their civil suit against the company.Natalia and Alex Dodov filed the suit in state court in February 2014, claiming Alaska Heliskiing “sought profit above safety” and failed to avoid the fatal avalanche that killed their son.The case was moved to federal district court in July.

Nick Dodov, 26, died in a Takhin Ridge avalanche while snowboarding with Alaska Heliskiing in March 2012. Company guide Rob Liberman, 35, of Telluride, Colo., also died in the accident.Natalia Dodov said she and her husband dropped the lawsuit because it wasn’t going to result in what they wanted: more rigorous and enforceable safety regulations in the largely unregulated heli-skiing industry.

Dodov said the case devolved into discussions of a settlement between her lawyer, Juneau-based attorney Mark Choate, and lawyers from Alaska Heliskiing’s insurance company. “The terms of the settlement are against our will. It only supports the insurance company to release every party involved from their responsibility,” Dodov said.“We were never after money or anything like that,” Dodov said. “We never wanted to settle this and release them from responsibility and just get money.”In September, the Dodovs sent an email to Choate telling him they weren’t interested in a settlement.

“We sued Alaska Heliskiing because we thought that it would bring to light Alaska Heliskiing’s unsafe practices which led to our son’s death and help bring much-needed safety regulations to the heli-skiing industry. We decided to drop the case when we and our lawyer disagreed about the direction of the case and we were asked to sign a settlement agreement that went against all our principles and felt to us as if we were selling out our son,” the Dodovs said in an email this week.

According to court documents, Choate said he wrote to the Dodovs on Jan. 6 and told them he could no longer represent them because of a “breakdown in communications” between his office and the Dodovs.Choate said the Dodovs needed to find themselves new legal counsel, and if he didn’t hear from them by Jan. 27, he would move to withdraw himself from the case.Choate said he sent the letter to the email address they successfully used for prior communications. He also sent the letter via mail. “I’ve heard nothing from them and cannot continue to represent them given this breakdown in communications,” he told the court.He moved to withdraw himself on Feb. 4, and the judge granted the withdrawal.

Natalia Dodov said Choate removed himself because she and her husband weren’t interested in signing the settlement. On Jan. 27, Dodov sent Choate an email telling him they wanted the case dismissed.Choate did not return calls for comment. Dodov said she hasn’t heard back from him regarding her Jan. 27 email requesting the case’s dismissal.The Dodovs don’t intend to hire a new lawyer. Dodov said she is not upset with Choate or her legal representation. “It’s all about the system. It’s nothing against the lawyer.”Dodov said the lawsuit was an avenue toward getting the heli-skiing industry to strengthen its safety standards.

The couple also launched a backcountry ski safety program and has aggressively pursued stiffer heli-skiing laws and permitting in discussions with the Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Occupational Safety and Health department, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. senators and congressmen.“This was another way we tried,” Dodov said.Natalia Dodov said she was naive to think that filing a lawsuit would result in a more complete investigation of Alaska Heliskiing’s operations and bring focus to heli-ski safety standards.

The Dodovs claimed Alaska Heliskiing’s negligence led to their son’s death and that the company failed to properly assess snow conditions, failed to make a full disclosure of risk, marketed efforts emphasizing affordability (implying cost-cutting at the risk of safety), failed to exercise judgment required of a competent guide, failed to provide a second guide, failed to timely execute post-accident procedures and inadequately trained clients in avalanche search techniques.Tim Lamb, an Anchorage-based attorney for Alaska Heliskiing, said he hoped the case would be dismissed but that he couldn’t address details because it’s officially active.“It’s truly sad. My heart goes out to the Dodovs, as does Alaska Heliskiing’s. For everyone involved, it’s a tragedy,” Lamb said.