On March 13, 2012, there was an avalanche which claimed the lives of a guest Nickolay Dodov, 26, of Truckee, Calif. and an Alaska Heliskiing guide, Rob Liberman,35, of Telluride, Colo. The avalanche was the first ever in the 26 years of operation of Alaska Heliskiing and its predecessor operation.
Alaska Heliskiing is a professional operation with qualified guides who are very well respected in the industry. We believe that our incident-to-years-in-operation ratio proves our company to be one of the safest in performance.
Alaska Heliskiing would like to express our sincere sympathies to the Dodov family for the loss of their son, Nickolay. The unfortunate event of an avalanche that took the life of the Dodov’s son and our dear friend will lay heavy on our hearts for years to come, if not forever.
We regret we were not able to comment publicly immediately following the incident due to the advice of our legal counsel. It was very hard not to express our feelings surrounding the event. We were never approached by the Dodov family personally to answer any questions they may have had and it was out of respect for the time needed to heal that we did not give any detailed reports to the family.
Heliskiing has inherent risks, including risks posed by deep snow, steep terrain and, of course, avalanches. While we do our best to forecast avalanches and select appropriate terrain, the risk of avalanches in heliskiing can never be eliminated.