Written by Colin Korst
Two years ago, the outdoor sport community lost a phenomenal young individual. That person was Nickolay Dodov. He was heli-boarding in Haines, Alaska when he tragically died in an avalanche. He was the son of two amazing parents named Alex and Natalia, who were both outdoor enthusiasts. Nick was born in Bulgaria, and promptly inherited the outdoor lifestyle of his Mom and Dad. He excelled in competitive snowboard racing, moved along into the park riding scene, and eventually found bliss exploring the backcountry. Beyond snowboarding, Nick also loved skateboarding, surfing, and painting as well. In his short 26 years on this planet, he lived a life filled with love for nature and those around him.
There were many before Nick and there have still been many people after him who have unfortunately lost their lives while exploring the backcountry. However, I think the appropriate response is not to avoid sports such as skiing or snowboarding. These sports that we love so much bring us closer to nature and greatly improve our well-being. What happened to Nick was unfortunate, but his love for the outdoors was what inspired his life. If we wish to save the lives of our fellow riders, we must increase awareness of safety habits for everyone who decides to go into the backcountry. This is why Alex and Natalia decided to start the Nickolay Dodov Foundation. The foundation has a mission of promoting “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.” They have already been a part of successful events focusing on safety education, such as Safety Week at Bear Valley Mountain.
On March 8th the foundation is hosting their second annual Nickolay Dodov Slopestyle event at Bear Valley Mountain, California. This fantastic event will celebrate the life of Nick, and spread an important message of sport safety to all. The event will have men’s and women’s categories for skiing and snowboarding, and there will even be a “Little Grom” category for those riders 12 & under. There will be some sweet prizes, prize money, and athlete gift bags for all competitors. DJ Freedom Fighta Sound will be spinning the tunes. A silent auction and other vendors will be featured at the event as well. Registration is taking place from 8:30-10am in the Sun Room at Bear Valley Mountain, and the entry fee is $20 per competitor. This is a great event for a great cause that you will not want to miss.
If you would like more info about the Nickolay Dodov Foundation or the Slopestyle Event, or if you would like to make a donation to the foundation, please check out their website.