Bear Valley, CA resident Natalia Dodova lost her only child, Nickolay Dodov, when he was killed in an avalanche in Alaska on Thankin Ridge, Haines 6-years ago. On that day, her and her husband not only lost a son but also a best friend, teammate, and ski-buddy. They had shared many days riding together, he was their everything, the center of their life.
Two years after that terrible accident, along with her husband Alex, they started the ‘Nickolay Dodov Foundation‘, with the aim of spreading avalanche awareness to all who enjoy the mountains. They hoped that by being able to reach out, specifically to the youth, with avalanche education they could save lives.
In the last three years, they have reached out with their avalanche awareness program “Know Before You Go” (KBYG) to close to 6,000 ski and snowboard athletes, from middle to high school, university students, coaches, teachers, and parents. They travel from ski resort to ski resort hoping that by being able to reach out with avalanche education they will save lives. They have organized and taken part in every single presentation and workshop, transporting the avalanche educators and members of NDF team with their truck… The Foundation is now their life!
Last winter alone, they reached out to more than 1,500 ski/snowboard athletes, and are planning to do 11 KBYG presentations, 5 Avalanche workshops, and 2 AIARE Level 1 classes this fall and winter.
The Foundation goal for the next year is to bring Avalanche workshops to all of the ski and snowboard teams we had been with KBYG to prepare them for Level 1 Avalanche classes and to bring KBYG to ski and snowboard teams and schools where they haven’t been yet.
Our Foundation is brought up from our love of Nick, from our love of the mountains, and from our love for skiing in the backcountry. 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 Nick and are looking forward to working together with everyone who is interested to reach out with avalanche awareness education.
We ride the mountain every given day, half of them in the backcountry and are ALWAYS the FIRST CHAIR on POWDER DAYS! My husband Alex was a professional athlete in ski and snowboarding, rock climbing and mountaineering and spent two years in the Mountain Alpine Division. We used to run private ski and snowboard school and Alex worked with the first heli ski company in Bulgaria.
Our son Nick was a member of Bulgarian National team, competing in the Junior World Cup in Telluride, CO in 1999. After we moved to California, Nick competed in the 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+ annual snowboard days; half of the days snowmobiling and split snowboarding backcountry adventures. Nick was very well known as a very good snowboarder and the one always looking for the safety for himself and everybody else.
For more information, or to get in touch, head over to: http://www.nickolaydodovfoundation.com/