Nickolay Dodov Foundation Summary for the Winter 2016/2017

 

Nickolay Dodov Foundation presented the avalanche awareness program Know Before You Go to more than 2000, ski/snowboard athletes, middle, high school and university students, parents, coaches, teachers, and all ages mountain enthusiasts. The Foundation stretched its reach with presentations of the program KBYG in California from Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp, to Humboldt State University in Arcata, to REI store in Stockton, to Avery Middle School, to Kirkwood ski teams, to Squaw Valley USSA athletes, to Bear Valley ski teams, to South Tahoe High School, to China Peak ski team.

The Foundation has translated the program KBYG in Bulgarian language and organized and supported two presentations in Bulgaria.Thank you to Georgy Georgiev and Free Mountains Association for organizing and presenting The Avalanche Awareness Program Know Before You Go in Sofia, Bulgaria! Thank you for the great presentations!
Thank you to all who attended!

The Foundation hosted the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival in Bear Valley with all proceeds benefiting the Know Before You Go Avalanche Safety Program. Amazing films!… Amazing Crowd!…. Amazing Good Vibes!…Avalanche awareness! With the snow storm of the Century we had a full house!!!!!…Thank you to The Backcountry Film Festival for donating the films to support us.

The Foundation organized and support the Fourth Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle Event. NICK’S SLOPESTYLE WAS ALL ABOUT SHARING GOOD VIBES WITH NICK’S TRIBE!!!…Huge shout out to all the sponsors & Nick’s crew that donated and were part of the 4th Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle!! The athletes were super stoked! It was a great day! We are BEYOND grateful for another wonderful event and great memories!!

Thank you very much to all our friends from the Bear Valley community and beyond for your amazing support to Nickolay Dodov Foundation! With your help we were able to reach out to many with the avalanche awareness program KBYG, and we look forward to continue our mission to spread snow sport safety and avalanche education in the coming 2017/2018 Snow Season! Thank you to Bear Valley Mountain for all their help and support to us!

Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a part of the Nationwide Avalanche Awareness movement to educate youth and all age winter sports enthusiasts.

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

 

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High in the Mountains with Buurna…and Nick

John Muir

“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us”…. with the powerful feeling that Nick is right here with us…

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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.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ZERO tolerance of drugs and alcohol.

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

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

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

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

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

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

After Everest Disaster, Sherpas Contemplate Strike

 

 

 

 

Nickolay Dodov Foundation Snow Sports Safety Video

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

Click on the thumbnail to watch the video.