WHITEROOM SNOWBOARDING MAGAZINE; Три години по-късно – „NICKOLAY DODOV FOUNDATION“

168959_1727317553343_2073970_n Минаха 3 години от нелепия инцидент, сполетял нашия приятел Ники Додов в Аляска. Ние от Whiteroom, както и всички негови приятели, го приехме много тежко. Трудно ни е дори да говорим за това, но наистина загубихме ценен и добър човек. Той бе от най-позитивните и скромни хора, които сме срещали. В тази статия обаче няма да скърбим, а ще ви запознем с Наталия-Нани и Александър-Шошо, неговите родители, които създават Nickolay Dodov Foundation.
Няколко думи за тях Докато още живее в България Александър се запалва по зимните спортове – дълги години e инструктор на Витоша, Боровец и Банско, а освен всичко това успява да намери време за алпинизъм и ски рали. Обиколил е спортните школи на Славия и ЦСКА, а към Кремиковци работи като професионално платен планинар. Той е един от първите, които прокарват сноуборда в България и дори е от хората, които помагат за създаването на Сноуборд федерация в нашата страна. Шошо успява да предаде страстта към планината на своето семейство – Нани и малкия Ники. Заедно, със старото трабантче обикалят всички възможни точки на България, където може да се кара и изживяват страхотни мигове. Самите те споделят, че са „като един отбор“ – винаги заедно. Синът им Ники попива от опита на баща си и за кратко време става много добър с дъската и твърдите автомати. Той участва в почти всички бордъркрос състезания.
Напускането на родината След тежката инфлация през 1997 г. Шошо и семейството му решават да напуснат България. Те заминават за Америка и се установяват в Bear Valley – малко планинско градче, където зимата буквално не си отива и сняг има до юни месец. Като хора отдадени на зимните спортове, те се влюбват в прекрасното местенце, което е с малко население и е доста спокойно, а най-големият плюс е, че снегът се трупа за отрицателно време. За една нощ, споделя Нани, се събира сняг колкото един „човешки ръст“. Какво по-хубаво от това, бихме казали ние. 580777_10200495182492664_1563412420_n Не след дълго младото семейство отваря бояджийско студио, с което да се изхранват – боядисвайки къщи. Ники, освен че помага на татко си, бързо намира приятели в снежното градче, които също се включват в работата. В замяна на тяхната помощ Наталия им готви, а работата заприличва на детските лагери, които само сме гледали в американските филми. Тримата обикват все повече планинския град и се чувстват чудесно. Не изпитват никакви затруднения с адаптацията към мястото и се радват на един спокоен и нормален живот. В същото време Ники решава да спре със състезанията, тъй като смята, че това не е за него. Маха твърдите автомати, слага меките и влиза в powder-a, който го привлича страшно много. Събира се със своите приятели и започват да карат извън пистите. Майка му също се запалва по извънпистовото каране, но за начало се пуска само под лифтовете, карайки под окуражаващите викове на Ники и неговата компания. Днес, с годините опит, “Powder Mom” може да кара откъдето си пожелае и не се страхува от нищо. unnamed (3) unnamed И тримата стават много добри в това, което правят, но никога не си дават зор. Не търсят публичната изявата или чуждото признание, а просто се радват на хубавите мигове. Винаги гледат да са заедно и да изпитват удовлетворение от най-малките неща. Нани описва начинът им на живот много точно – “Go with the flow”.
Създаване на фондацията След трагичния инцидент на 13.03.2012 г. в Аляска се установяват много грешки от страна на водача на групата. Нани и Шошо започват свое разследване и се опитват да намерят причините, довели до смъртта на техния син. Оказва се обаче, че корупцията в Аляска е голяма и всички си затварят очите, а организациите се интересуват единствено от „печеленето на пари“. Наталия сподели с нас, че там голяма част от хората не гледат с респект към планината, а по-скоро с насмешка към опасностите, които крие и имат така нареченото “Cowboy attitude”. Нередностите, които откриват се опитват да разпространят и по този начин да предпазят много други, които също биха тръгнали по пътя на Ники. Работят със сенатора на Калифорния, с National Forest (федерална инстанция), Националния център за лавинна безопасност за цяла Америка и всякакви други лавинни центрове, и се опитват да променят положението. Разбира се получават много подкрепа от приятели, от непознати хора и заедно с тях се борят срещу другата страна – голямата машина за правене на пари. И макар всичко това да не е лесно Нани и Шошо не се отказват и продължават напред. Резултатът не закъснява и след като минават през цялата бюрокрация и документи успяват да отварят Nickolay Dodov Foundation през есента на 2013 г. Освен те двамата, в оснавата й стои и John Jackson – добър приятел на Ники. 1012604_1494449897451944_3904931873635448064_n Чрез нея те провеждат две слоупстайл състезания.905842_1515657808664486_1686238089968243734_o Много спонсори се отзовават и много малки деца участват в тях. Организират се безплатни лекции по лавинна безопасност, насочени към деца под програмата “Know before you go”. А най-голямото признание идва от това, че директорът на Националната служба за лавинна безопасност на Юта участва като лектор на семинарите. unnamed (4) Това е и основната идея на фондацията – разпространяване на безплатни лекции и курсове по лавинна безопасност за деца и тийнейджъри. Най-хубавото е, че има силен отзвук – доста ски и сноуборд отбори, учители, дори работници в планините присъстват на тези лекции. 10410348_1607456882817911_7155951804101042658_n unnamed (6) Следващата стъпка на фондацията е да организира и безплатен, тридневен Level 1 лавинен курс за децата, които не могат да си го позволят. Работят и по въпроса тази програма да се предложи на всички професионални и национални отбори, за да може малчуганите още от ранна възраст да се запознаят с опасностите в планината. Другата идея, която искат да реализират е свързана със сноуборд и ски филмите. Целта им е след края на всеки филм водачът на групата да разкаже за опасностите, които съществуват и да обясни как са ги избегнали, тъй като всички сме гледали какви склонове и улеи пускат професионалните карачи.
Посланието Казват, че все още са новаци в организирането на тези събития, но вярват и знаят че Ники е с тях и им помага. Планината е техният живот, но в същото време се учат всеки ден от нея, имат респект и искат да го предадат на другите чрез Nickolay Dodov Foundation. „Колкото повече знаят децата, толкова по-добре“ казват Нани и Шошо в един глас. Ние също като тях смятаме, че всеки, който излиза в планината трябва да бъде добре подготвен. Поради тази причина подобни лекции за лавинна безопасност трябва да се изнасят навсякъде по света и винаги първо да мислим за безопасността, а след това за всичко останало. 563235_1457278397835761_729382623_n unnamed (9) Нани и Шошо Благодарят на абсолютно всички, които ги подкрепят! Ние от Whiteroom искрено се прекланяме пред инциативата на Нани и Шошо. Само много силни хора, като тях, могат да се захванат с подобно дело. А Ники – ти, братле, покарай в пудрата там горе! 10302101_1494859557410978_180539298684135085_n

– See more at: http://www.whiteroom.bg/tri-godini-po-kusno-nickolay-dodov-foundation/#sthash.r6x0yoEI.dpuf

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Video from the Second Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle

Here is the video from the 2nd Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle! Sponsored by Bear Valley Mountain and the Nickolay Dodov Foundation!! This was a great event!! We had so many people show up to ride, hangout, celebrate and remember NICKOLAY!!! Please share and let’s generate some energy for the 3rd Annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle!!

 

 

NICKOLAY DODOV Snow Sports Safety Foundation Upcoming Events

FEBRUARY 15th, 2014

BEAR VALLEY MOUNTAIN SAFETY WEEK

NICKOLAY DODOV FOUNDATION Snow Sports Safety and Awareness Booth and Children Snow Sports Safety Talk

Stop by Nickolay Dodov Foundation booth at Bear Valley Mountain this Saturday the 15th. The foundation booth will be set up from 11am -8pm in the Sun Room. We will be sharing information to help educate people about snow sports safety and awareness!! We have stickers, shirts, handouts, a foundation safety DVD and more…. available for anyone looking to take home snow awareness goodies! Our 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. It should be a great weekend on the mountain, with an awesome firework show in the evening!!!

Nickolay Dodov  Foundation Safety DVD

 

MARCH 8th, 2014

DON’T MISS OUT THE SECOND ANNUAL NICKOLAY DODOV SLOPESTYLE MARCH 8TH! PLEASE SHARE! HELP SPREAD THE WORD! WE WANT LOTS OF ATHLETES SIGNING UP AND SHREDDING THE SICK COURSE WE ARE HELPING TO DESIGN, WITH THE BEAR VALLEY TERRAIN PARK MANAGER!! THIS EVENT WILL BE GOING OFF! WITH MUSIC FROM DJ FREEDOM FIGHTER SOUND, EPIC SLOPESTYLE PRIZES AND A SILENT AUCTION!!

If anyone would like to help us by becoming a sponsor, donating and or gathering items for the slopestyle prizes we would greatly appreciate it. If you would like to help us please send a message to info@nickolaydodovfoundation.com Thank you!

MARCH 10th, 2014

AVALANCHE LEVEL 1 CERTIFICATION COURSE

NICKOLAY DODOV FOUNDATION will participate in school and mountain-based educational programs focusing on snow sports safety and backcountry awareness. The Foundation would like to implement the program “KNOW BEFORE YOU GO” to middle and high schools in California and to have the program available to backcountry enthusiasts of all ages.

Know Before You Go

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Overview  Watch the video
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.The KBYG program was created for middle and high school students and can be presented in a 50 minute school assembly. The high energy video and the jaw-dropping slide show, along with the Q&A chat with an avalanche professional, takes the breath away from adults as well.  Want to attend a free KBYG presentation?  Check out the schedule hereWant to host a presentation for your school, scout troop, shop, employees, or community group? Contact us. Think you know your stuff and want to test your knowledge online?  Pass this quiz and receive a discount on BCA avalanche gear from our friends at Backcountry.com
The KBYG program has 3 parts, an 18 minute video, a slide show, and a Q&A session, all led by a local avalanche professional.  The images are eye-catching and pack a punch.  Viewers see the destructive power of avalanches, how people get in trouble, and the basics of how to avoid them, all through the eyes of avalanche professionals, pro athletes, accident victims and rescuers, and their peers.  We don’t preach and we don’t tell skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers to stay home – we encourage them to get some education to get out and have fun safely.

Participate in KBYG

If you would like us to present KBYG for your school class, scout troop, customers, or community in Utah, please contact us and we will arrange a free presentation.  Do you have safety meetings for your employees?  A KBYG talk is more exciting and engaging than talking paper cuts and ladder safety and helps keep your employees happy and safe. You provide a time and place and help us promote the event and we will do the rest.  If you are outside Utah and would like to present the KBYG program, all the program materials are available free.  Contact us for a free DVD copy of the video*, slide deck that you can modify to suit your local conditions, and some hints and advice on best practices. The KBYG program was developed with a series of grants on an open-source basis and the program has successfully been adopted in a number of other regions and by the National Ski Patrol.

*Copies of the video are for avalanche educators only and may be reproduced but not sold or used for any commercial purpose

We can also build custom avalanche awareness programs based on KBYG for your group.  Example programs:

  • An extended presentation in the snow, either in the mountains or in a snowy playground, in which students learn to use rescue gear and see snow layering
  • KBYG talks modified to highlight the practical and exciting application of science
  • Shop employee learning sessions to familiarize retail employees with local avalanche issues

Background

Utah has the Greatest Snow on Earth.  Utah also has some of the greatest avalanche danger in the world, within sight and only minutes away from where most of us live.  Avalanches kill more people each year than any other natural event in Utah.

On December 26, 2003, a massive avalanche swept off Mt. Timponogos.  14 people out  hiking and snowboarding the day after Christmas were caught up in the slide and 3 died.  This didn’t have to happen – the danger signs were obvious to those who understood avalanche danger.  In the aftermath of this tragedy, the Know  Before You Go program was born.

Most of the avalanche fatalities in the U.S. and Canada occur to people who don’t know they are in avalanche danger and are unprepared to deal with an avalanche.  Just as those in Hawaii learn about the dangers of rip tides and shore breaks at an early age, students in Utah need to learn about avalanches. What  they learn can save their lives.  The Know Before You Go program was created to teach Middle and High School students the basics of avalanches –  how  destructive they are, when and where avalanches happen, and what they can do to protect themselves.

KBYG was presented state-wide 126 times to about 15,000 people in winter 2011-12, About 2/3 of those presentations were for youth groups and the remainder open to the public. KBYG has been presented to over 160,000 people since inception in 2004.  The Utah Board of Education has approved the KBYG program as a PE elective. Teachers are encouraged to utilize our on-line curriculum as well as the free, state-wide, assembly presentation.

“This assembly has made an everlasting impression in my mind.  I will never forget the message that was put across.  This assembly should be mandatory for all schools to see—6th through 12th grades, along with their parents, too.  It can and will save people’s lives.  The footage shown in the avalanche video is phenomenal!  The educational value placed upon this assembly is priceless.”

–Raquel Fuller, Health/P.E./Dance Educator

MESSAGE FROM NICKOLAY DODOV FOUNDATION

Nickolay Dodov  Foundation Safety DVD

THE ALASKAN WAY – End up with Tragic Incident that Killed a Client and a Guide

Last season some of the top guides of  Alaska Heliskiing, LLC left for good.   The co-owners of Alaska Heliskiing LLC, Vicki Gardner and  Sean Brownell, left Haines, Alaska. Now, they live in Canada. Vicki Gardner lives near Vancouver, BC. Sean Brownell lives in Carcross, Yukon. We have been told that on the fateful day of March 13/2012, the day when both a client and their guide were killed, it was just an accident. Why then did Vicki Gardner and Sean Brownell have to leave the country? What was their concern if this incident was only an accident?

 The Alaska Heliskiing website is still open for business both to take clients out heli-skiing and to educate future guides. On what standards and regulations  this company is allowed to certified heli-ski guides? Their top guides now are Tim Thomas and Gabe Gioffre.

After the deadly incident mentioned above, Tim Thomas has shared that the company was aware of the dangerous conditions the day of the accident. Gabe Gioffre was the guide in the helicopter at the scene of the avalanche. He didn’t start search and rescue until 35 minutes after the avalanche came to rest.

Alaska Heliskiing ignored the dangerous conditions (which included growing surface hoar, an overnight strong wind storm that overloaded the mountain bowls and the gullies with wind deposit snow, shooting cracks in the snow, snow stability check that showed dangerous snow conditions and Rob Liberman was guiding under influence of THC marijuana) that led to the death of a client, our son Nickolay Dodov, and the AH guide, Rob Liberman.

Who made the call to take three groups of clients to Alpine Bowl with rolling hills and multiple gullies with steepness of 25-40 degrees in such a dangerous conditions?  Alaska Heliskiing was taking all the clients to ski the same hill. It was inevitable that someone would get in trouble that day.

http://vimeo.com/skithehimalayas/the…

The Alaskan Way The Alaskan Way http://vimeo.com/skithehimalayas/the… 

“SEABA agrees to pay $21K to BLM” by Tom Morphet

CHILKAT VALLEY NEWS

SEABA agrees to pay $21K to BLM

by Tom Morphet

January 9, 2014 | Volume 44, Number 1  | View PDF

A Haines helicopter skiing company has agreed to pay more than $21,000 in fines and fees for flying on federal lands closed to the activity 54 times during 78 days of operation during the past two years.

Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures signed a plea agreement containing the allegations, which was filed recently in federal district court in Anchorage. The case stems from a federal investigation of the company triggered by the heli-skiing death of Christian Cabanilla March 3.

The company also agreed to a two-year probationary period. A federal court judge must still approve the plea deal.

“This investigation revealed that despite knowing that SEABA was not permitted for helicopter skiing on BLM-managed lands in this area, SEABA operated commercially on BLM-managed land on approximately 54 dates in 2012 and 2013 out of 78 total days of heli-ski operations in these two seasons,” the plea agreement says.

In a statement from attorney Tracey Knutson this week, SEABA described the encroachments as “minor, infrequent and inconsequential.”

“(A recent news article) intimating that 54 incursions over a 78-day period had occurred was misleading,” Knutson said. “In reality, a similar number of client ski day land boundary infractions occurred over a couple year period so that transit into federal lands was infrequent. The boundary intrusion most often was only for helicopter access with the actual ski runs occurring on state land,” Knutson said.

Cabanilla and four others were skiing on federal lands closed to commercial heli-skiing when the fatal accident occurred. Two of the other skiers were seriously injured. The trip in the Kicking Horse drainage was a non-commercial outing led by SEABA guides.

The accident occurred on a ski-run on BLM-managed land that the company had named for one of its frequent customers. It had been included on a map SEABA had submitted for a 2011 BLM permit that was not approved.

SEABA officials have previously complained that the BLM is holding up the company’s use of the land.

According to the plea agreement, the company had a permit for operating on BLM land from 2002 through 2006, then allowed the permit to expire. Following expiration of the permit, BLM closed the land to heli-skiing “pending an environmental study to determine the impact of increasing the amount of permitted heli-ski operations. SEABA applied for a new permit for these closed area in 2011. SEABA was informed of the closure and did not obtain a permit.”

According to the plea agreement, after the fatality the BLM initiated an investigation that involved interviews with SEABA employees, a review of the company’s log, maps and GPS flight data collected in accordance with its Haines Borough permit.

“Based on a percentage of SEABA’s gross revenue and the percentage of time SEABA operated commercially on BLM lands in 2012 and 2013, SEABA owes a minimum of $11,556 in user fees to BLM,” according to the plea agreement. Under the agreement, SEABA also agrees to pay a $10,000 fine and would be placed on two years’ probation during which it would be required to submit GPS data to the agency to prove compliance.

The plea agreement says SEABA could have been fined up to $200,000, with five years’ probation.

Former Haines Borough Assembly member Norm Smith, an industry critic, said this week that the borough should revoke SEABA’s permit. “Fifty-four times is not just an out of bounds issue. Shades of Dave Button,” he said.

Assembly member Jerry Lapp said he’d oppose such an idea. “I wish (SEABA) would watch themselves a little more closely, but I blame it on the BLM. They’ve taken way too long to do whatever they say they’re doing (in closed areas). Why are they closed? Why shouldn’t they be open to the public? If I had my way, it would all be open to heli-skiing except the critical habitat area for (mountain) goats.”

Lynn Canal Conservation president Eric Holle said the federal investigation “verifies what we’ve been saying for years. SEABA doesn’t pay attention to the regs. They operate as though they are above the law.”

“The significance for the borough, I would hope, is that they need to step up their monitoring for compliance. It was like pulling teeth to get Mark Earnest to do spot checks on these guys. Last year he only did two spot checks on SEABA and two on Alaska Heliskiing. Undoubted there were violations on state land (during the same time). The borough is in charge of that. They should look,” Holle said.

Interim borough manager Julie Cozzi said this week she’d include information about the plea agreement in information to assembly members, but said she was not planning at this time to make recommendations concerning borough management of the industry

“Heli-Skiing Regulations to Take Flight?” by Devon O’Neil

Two articles by Devon O’Neil about US Heliskiing standards and regulations were published within two years of time. October 2011 for ESPN  an article titled “Changes to U.S.Heli Skiing” and  December 2013 for Ski Magazine an article titled “Heli- Skiing Regulations to Take Flight?”.  For the article in ESPN ,October, 2011 Kevin Quinn and Paul Butler stated that they are on a mission to standardize one of the nation’s most radical industries, which surprisingly remains unregulated. The next step, Butler said, is to align with the American Mountain Guides Association and have the AMGA certify guides through its courses, a huge departure from how it exists now. “We’re promoting the gold standard,” Butler said.Yet there remain about 20 non-member outfits in the U.S., whose practices carry implications on the industry as a whole, especially in the event of an accident. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when somebody’s going to get it,” Quinn said “And when that happens, it’s going to affect all of us.” 

In the recent article by Devon O’Neil in December 2012 issue of Ski Magazine, the current president of HSUS, Kevin Quinn said that they have decided for the first time to release their Heli-Skiing Safety & Operating Giddiness. “We have been sitting on these guidelines for so long, they are so good, why we are guarding them?” This fall in the wake of the two accidents and the rise in scrunity the Heli- skiing US Association decided for the first time to release its HSOG. AFTER SEVERAL FATALITIES, THE U.S. HELISKING INDUSTRY WORKS TO STANDARTIZE SAFETY PROTOCOLS – BEFORE THE GOVERMENT DOES

ESPN

“Changes to U.S. Heli Skiing”

By Devon O’Neil, October 9, 2011

New standards will be implemented at Cordova, Alaska’s Points North Heli Adventures, shown here. 
In a movement that dates back to the early 1980s and has recently picked up momentum, a handful of America’s top heli-skiing operators are on a mission to standardize one of the nation’s most radical industries, which surprisingly remains unregulated. While most ski resorts lease public land and must abide by government-imposed safety laws, heli operations use much larger swaths of public land yet are governed primarily by their insurance carriers. Kevin Quinn, an Alaska native and owner of Points North Heli Adventures in Cordova, is among those trying to change that. He has spent the past four years infiltrating the good-old-boys club that is the Heli-Ski U.S. Association, in essence trying to break up a fraternity. “In the past, they’d just get together and drink beers at their annual meeting and talk about their season,” he says of the organization known as Heli U.S. and modeled after the widely respected HeliCat Canada. “It was something I longed to be a part of for 10 years, and finally I just got fed up and said, ‘Are you guys a club, or are you actually an official association, as you claim?’ I really shook the tree.” The result has been a reshuffling of the association and its goals. This summer, Paul Butler, co-owner of North Cascade Heli Skiing in Washington, was elected president of Heli U.S., succeeding longtime president Joe Royer of Ruby Mountains Heli Experience in Nevada. “We’re streamlining the organization,” Butler said. “Tightening things up, taking a look at where we want to go.” Heli U.S. counts eight members that pay an annual fee of approximately $7,000. When a new operation joins, it’s strictly audited so as not to dilute the membership. “We’re promoting the gold standard,” Butler said. Yet there remain about 20 non-member outfits in the U.S., whose practices carry implications on the industry as a whole, especially in the event of an accident. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when somebody’s going to get it,” Quinn said. “And when that happens, it’s going to affect all of us.” In addition to its eight operators, Heli U.S. recently added a guide membership and now counts 84 individual guides who are rated Level 1, 2 or 3 based on their experience. The next step, Butler said, is to align with the American Mountain Guides Association and have the AMGA certify guides through its courses, a huge departure from how it exists now. “They’re looking long term at having a mechanized ski guiding course in their program,” Butler said of the AMGA. “I think it’s just a matter of time before that happens.” Royer, who oversees Heli U.S.’s membership reviews, believes the organization’s revamped efforts are direly needed. “Nobody’s setting a precedent; there’s no regulation,” he said. “It’s not like the Forest Service is saying, ‘You have to do this.'”  If Quinn gets his way, however, that could change. “It’s going to come down to: ‘You want a permit? Are you a member of Heli U.S.?’ That will weigh heavily,” he said.
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SKI MAGAZINE
Volume 78 #4 December 2013
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“HELI-SKIING  REGULATIONS TO TAKE FLIGHT?”
 by Devon O’Neil
AFTER SEVERAL FATALITIES, THE U.S. HELISKING INDUSTRY WORKS TO STANDARTIZE SAFETY PROTOCOLS – BEFORE THE GOVERMENT DOES
For nearly 50 years the American Heli-skiing industry has operated like a man who lives on  a deserted island. Which is to say; by its own rules. Aside from local, state and federal land agency that issue permits to the operators and periodically attempt to keep tabs on them, there has never been any blanket regulation of Heli- skiing in the United States.
U.S. Senators and land agency are taking a new interest in the sport spurred largely by a victim’s parents. There is a talk “of getting everyone in the same sheet of music” as Department of Natural Recourses.
Nearly 20 outfitters are either members or  prospective members of Heli-skiing US. That’s about half of the total number of American heli-skiing business.(To become a member a company must spend two years on probation, pay $3000 and pass rigorous safety reviews.) In past years there has been friction between members and non members, with members unwilling to share their Heliski Safety Operating Giddiness (HSOG).
This fall in the wake of the two accidents and the rise in scrunity the Heli- skiing US Association decided for the first time to release its HSOG. “We have been sitting on these guidelines for so long, they are so good, why we are guarding them?” Kevin Quinn said.

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Here is a link to the full article
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In November 2012 we contacted US Heliskiing Association assuming by their title that they are an established leader in American heliskiing business. We assumed that as an American leading heliskiing association  they would be interested to learn about the avalanche accident in Haines that killed two people: our son Nickolay Dodov and the guide Rob Liberman.
We asked US Heliskiing Association if there are any safety standards set for all heliskiing companies in US.
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OUR EMAILS WITH PAUL BUTLER, THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF US HELISKIING ASSOSIATION AND KEVIN QUINN, THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF US HELISKIING ASSOSIATION

On Nov 10, 2012, at 7:17 PM, nataliadodova@hotmail.com wrote:

Natalia and Alex Dodov via heli-ski.com

Name: Natalia and Alex Dodov Email: nataliadodova@hotmail.com Phone: 209 753 2828 Message:

Hi Paul and Kevin,

My name is Natalia Dodova, I am mother of Nickolay Dodov, who was killed in the avalanche on Thankin Ridge, Haines, AK. With my husband, Alex Dodov, we are experienced ski mountaineers; our son was an experienced backcountry snowboarder. We have been investigating and we have a lot of information regarding the accident. Would you be interested to look at it and help us with your professional opinion? We would like to ask you if there are any safety and search and rescue standards that the heli companies in the US should operate under? Have you been working with the Alaska Heli Company, Haines? Is Alaska Heli Company member of the HSUS? Do you know who authorized Alaksa Heli Company to have a heli guiding school? Did you know that the autopsy finds THC higher than the background levels in the guide Rob Liberman’s blood? Where HSUS does stands in this matter regarding drugs?

Thank you very much Natalia and Alex Dodov

November 14, 2012

From Kevin Quinn

Hello Natalia-

My deepest condolences to you and your family, truly!

I cannot comment on the operation in Haines as I have no real knowledge on them aside from the fact they are not part of HSUS.

Please look at the HSUS web site as we have our mission listed there. www.usheliskiing.com

I do know that Rob Liberman was a very good ski guide. The THC levels is not something I can comment on. All of this is very unfortunate.

Again, my deepest condolences to you and your family. I believe our President of Heli US will be in contact with you shortly.

Best,

Kevin

North Cascade Heli (info@heli-ski.com)

11/12/12

From Paul Butler

To: nataliadodova@hotmail.com

Hi, Natalie and Alex: I am sorry about the loss of your son and extend you my deepest sympathy and condolences. I have a son myself, age 12, and I cannot begin to imagine how you both must feel. I would rather discuss this over the phone if you were okay with that. I am somewhat familiar with the incident. Would sometime tomorrow work for you? Please let me know. If we cannot talk over the phone then I will respond in more detail by email. As a member and current president of Heli Ski US, I am obliged to differentiate my personal opinion from that of representing the association. I hope this is understandable.

Again, I am truly saddened about your loss.

Sincerely,

Paul Butler

info@heli-ski.com (info@heli-ski.com)

11/17/12

To: nataliadodova@hotmail.com

Hello, Natalia and Alex: I have been in contact with the members of Heli Ski US, and from our discussion we have crafted our association’s reply as seen below. I would still like to speak with either of you over the phone if you are still interested in doing so.

Sincerely,

Paul

Paul Butler North Cascade Heli Mazama, WA http://www.heli-ski.com

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dodov,

On behalf of Heli-SkiUS, allow me to begin by telling you how sorry we are for the loss of your son, Nickolay. As members of the larger mountain community, I know that we all feel a sense of loss when one of our own is injured or killed in pursuit of the mountain lifestyles that are so central to our identities. I don’t know what words I can offer that might take away the pain of your loss. Having experienced the death of close friends in mountaineering, I have watched as survivors have chosen to return to the mountains again. I can only say that there is something compelling and healing in those places and I hope that you can find the opportunity take solace among mountains again.

In response to your questions, Alaska Heliskiing is not, and has never been, a member or our organization and I do not know of an organization that would have sanctioned its guide school program. Heli-Ski U.S. Association, Inc. represents approximately one-half of all helicopter skiing operators in the United States. While promoting safe operating practices is part of our program, membership in our organization is voluntary – those standards would not have been applicable to Alaska Heliskiing. Importantly, no set of standards, no matter how carefully conceived or implemented can eliminate all of the risks that are inherent in backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

Without in any way diminishing the gravity of your loss or own concern for safety in helicopter skiing, we do not believe that Heli-Ski U.S. would be serving the needs of our member companies or the industry by becoming involved in an investigation of your son’s accident. We must therefore, respectfully but firmly decline your request to become involved in this matter.

I wish you peace though what is undoubtedly a very difficult time.

Paul Butler

President

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From Paul Butler’s letter  to Alex and Natalia Dodov and U.S. Senators

HELISKIING US ASSOSIATION

January 27, 2012

Alex & Natalia Dodov,

Bear Valley, CA

Re: Your letter to Congressman Young, Senators Murkowski & Begich, et. al.

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Dodov:

I write in response to your recent letter to Congressman Young, Senators Murkowski and Begich and to others. On behalf of Heli-Ski U.S. Association, Inc. (HSUS) and its member firms, I again offer my deepest condolences for the loss of your son, Nickolay. I am certain that your sense of loss is profound and your desire for answers is acute. While those feelings are understandable, I respectfully request that you be more circumspect in your communications, which unfairly paint our entire industry as lacking in competence, professionalism and integrity. I assure you, that is not the case.

I can not agree with your call for regulation of the helicopter skiing industry. First, I note that many recreational activities involve risk and are not regulated by government agencies, despite accidents that sometimes result in loss of life. For example, horseback riding, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, scuba diving and parasailing all include significant risks, but none is regulated by government.

At the close of your letter, you note that you were unable to obtain a copy of our operating protocols and that you could not locate them on our website, suggesting that they do not exist. Given AH’s references to the apparently non-existent Alaska Helicopter Skiing Association, your cynicism is understandable, but incorrect. Our Heli-Skiing Safety & Operating Procedures (HSOP) guidelines are extensive and substantive. More important, the operations of our member firms are periodically audited for compliance and applicant firms must pass a thorough audit before they can become members. We do not publish or otherwise release the HSOP guidelines because, in our view, the impact of doing so would be precisely the opposite of our goal in creating them. Because of its level of detail, the HSOP could be used by persons wishing to enter the field to create a credible operating and safety plan, notwithstanding a lack of experience and technical resources. We would, in essence, be facilitating the creation of unqualified operations. We make the HSOP available to firms that have been in the field for at least two full years, provided they sign an agreement to be audited and pay a modest fee and the audit expenses. We believe that this is the best way for our organization to promote safety in the industry.

Your focus should be on the events of March 13, 2012 and those involved, not the rest of the industry. I want to be clear that no set operating guidelines, no matter how well drafted or rigorously implemented can remove all of the risks of helicopter skiing and snowboarding. These are inherently dangerous endeavors and the release and waiver forms that clients sign make this known to participants. Our organization will continue to work inside the industry to promote safety and professionalism and our goal will always be a zero accident rate. I am truly sorry that your son was lost in pursuit of the joy that riding and skiing in the backcountry can bring. I hope that you can find peace in this very difficult time

Very Truly Yours,

Paul Butler, President Heli Ski US

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CHILKAT VALLEY NEWS

January 10, 2013 | Volume 43, No. 1

National Heli-Ski Group Focuses on Standards

by Karen Garcia

Dean Cummings, owner of Valdez-based H2O Guides for ; Dean belonged to HSUS for 12 years. Cummings helped craft the association’s safety document, but bowed out because of what he perceived as a “lack of direction” and the association’s failure to rotate leadership.

“I think they are doing okay. They’re more of an exclusive association where they handpick their members,” Cummings said.

Cummings also said that the association, while nationwide, “distances itself from Alaska.” The industry, he said, would benefit immensely from a similar statewide association that focuses solely on Alaskan heli-skiing, which he said is different than heli-skiing in the Lower 48.

“Fatal accidents like the one last spring only increase the volume of that clamor. But people need to remember”, Points North owner Kevin Quinn said, “heli-skiing is an inherently risky activity. And not even a litany of rules and regulations can guarantee that nothing will go wrong. Being a part of heliski US wouldn’t have saved those people,” Quinn said. “Not even kind of.”

HSUS’s critics point to the cost of membership, which can be prohibitive, and the association’s club-like exclusivity. According to Quinn, members pay a one-time $5,000 fee, plus $1,500-$2,500 in annual dues.

Here is a link to the full article

National heli-ski group focuses on standards

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We have learned that the multimillion dollar heliski industry in United States is an unregulated commercial business without strict safety standards for every operator.

We have asked Karen Garsia and Devon O’Neil if they have seen the US Heliskiing Association Heliski Safety Operating Giddiness, both answers were “No”.

We haven’t seen the US Heliskiing Association Heliski Safety Operating Giddiness yet either. You can not find them on any website.

Dodovs Complaint to Federal OSHA
Here is a link to the complaint
Federal OSHA response
Here is link to the Federal OSHA response

NICKOLAY DODOV FOUNDATION

OUR MISSION:

Our mission is to promote snow sport safety and awareness through fun, hands on educational programs and events. Our goal is to inspire children and enthusiasts of all ages to explore the beauty of the mountains and ocean, while maintaining a healthy and positive lifestyle.

The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is committed to carrying on Nick’s legacy and spirit with the hope of preventing future accidents.

The Nickolay Dodov Foundation is a registered 501 Non-Profit organization.

www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com

OUR INSPIRATION:

NICKOLAY DODOV


At age three, Nickolay Dodov started skiing. By six and a half, he could handle the runs of his home mountains by himself. At eight, he strapped on a snowboard and fell in love. Nick’s passion led to competition both in Bulgaria, where he was born and lived until age thirteen, and in the United States, after his family settled in the small, mountain community of Bear Valley, California. Eventually, Nick brought his passion and skills to the backcountry, sharing experiences, encouragement and the amazing outdoors with kindred spirits in stunning terrain.

In March of 2012, Nick was killed in an avalanche while snowboarding in Haines, Alaska.The loss of his life has borne the Nickolay Dodov Foundation and prompts us to look with great care and deliberation at snow sports industry safety standards, as well as “the human factor” in extreme sports. We believe that through continuing snow sports safety awareness education, an individual strengthens his or her ability to assess situational safety in snow sports activities.

Nickolay was a beloved son, athlete, teammate, artist and teacher. A shining light with a great passion for life, Nickolay lived with heart. We wish you the same and strive to help provide access to information and skills that will enable you to participate in activities equipped with outdoor readiness.

OUR UPCOMING EVENTS:
With your support, the Nickolay Dodov Foundation will participate in school and mountain-based educational programs focusing on snow sports safety and backcountry avalanche awareness.

*Check our website for additions & updates!

www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com

Events:

*Bear Valley Mountain Safety Week: January 18-24
Snow Sports Safety Talk & Information Booth
at Bear Valley Mountain’s Winter Explosion!

*Avalanche training with Mountain Adventure Seminars.

2nd Annual Nickolay Dodov
SlopeStyle Competition
March 8, 2014
Along with great prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, there will be a silent auction benefiting the Nickolay Dodov Foundation!

Tax-deductible donations accepted online or at the mailing address below!

Thank you for your support.

PO Box 5035
Bear Valley, CA  95223
209.753.2828
www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com

We presented Nickolay Dodov Foundation at the Annual Winter Fest in Bear Valley Ski Resort, California the weekend of November 29th and 30th, 2013. Thank you to the great team of board members; Joel Barnett, Lauren Schimke, Stephanie Forbes, John Jackson, Cate Wallenfels and Mike Page! Thank you to John Jackson  who was signing autographs in support of the Foundation and sharing his love for snowboarding. Great to share the Foundation with so many people and see so many kids’ smiling faces! Thank you for all the love and support! Keep sharing our mission! The Foundation is grateful for all the support!

www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com

 Couple of days after the event start snowing