Parents of dead snowboarder killed by avalanche sue Alaska heli-skiing company

Parents of dead snowboarder killed by avalanche sue Alaska heli-skiing company

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Parents of dead snowboarder killed by avalanche sue Alaska heli-skiing company

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The parents of Nickolay Dodov, who died in an avalanche in March 2012, are suing Alaska Heliskiing. The Dodov’s are claiming the business “sought profit above safety”, accusing Alaska Heliskiing of failing to provide more than one guide for the trip, failing to assess the danger of skiing in the area of the avalanche and failing to provide adequate radios.  

More on this story from Alaska Dispatch News:

“Natalia and Alex Dodov allege the tour provider used misleading marketing that implied reduced risks and fostered a false sense of safety. The couple wrote five U.S. senators in 2013, urging Congress to investigate the tragedy.

The case has already caused roiling grief and hard feelings in Haines, with local officials tasked with piecing together who, if anyone, is responsible for the deaths. Last year the Dodovs urged the Haines Borough to deny renewal of Alaska Heliskiing’s ski tour permit.

Borough Clerk Julie Cozzi found that the company violated state law by failing to properly register to use the Haines State Forest for business purposes, according to a 15-page letter explaining the decision. But the violation and other problems did not warrant refusing a renewed tour permit, Cozzi concluded, according to a copy of the Feb. 1 letter posted on the Dodovs’ website.

“There is no evidence Alaska Heliskiing guides on March 13 ignored avalanche warning signs, the Snow Safety Director or weather reports. Clearly skiing was not called off after the first run but I am not able to evaluate whether conditions exhibited warning signs ignored by the Alaska Heliskiing guides,” Cozzi wrote.

The Dodovs first filed their lawsuit in February, in state court. The venue has since been moved to federal district court; the heli-skiing company is expected to respond to the complaint by Aug. 20.

The parents are asking for an unspecified amount of money, including cash to pay for burial and funeral expenses and to promote backcountry snow safety. The filings do not say what portion of the money awarded would be used for safety education.” Keep Reading….

[Photo by, B.Stefanov via Shutterstock]

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