Board Members

Alex & Natalia Dodov - President / Vice President

Natalia DodovWe are the parents of Nickolay Dodov, who was killed in an avalanche in Haines, Alaska on March 13, 2012. Nickolay was our son, our best friend, our best teammate and our teacher in many ways.

We were both born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. We were very young when we had Nick, Natalia was 17 and Alex was 22. Alex is a mountaineer, skier, snowboarder, climber and windsurfer. Natalia started as a city girl but her husband soon introduced her to a passion and love for the outdoors. She is an artist, enthusiastic outdoor adventurer, skier and hiker. Our life back in Bulgaria was spent camping by the Black Sea every summer and skiing in the mountains every winter. We shared our adventures, life and good times with friends. The three of us were always together, camping, hiking, climbing, riding down the mountains of Bulgaria.

Alex DodovAlex came to Bear Valley, California for three winters 1996, 1997, 1998. He was impressed by the snow conditions and together we decided to come to California in 1999 to explore the mountains and the ocean. We made Bear Valley in the Sierra Nevadas our home. We settled for a simple, happy adventurous life. The three of us have always shared the love for the mountains and the oceans. We always encouraged and supported each other. We were the most happy sharing powder days, hikes, camping by the ocean, surfing and windsurfing with Nick.

It is hard to describe how our life has have changed after we lost our son… We still live in the mountains and we hike, climb and ride the mountains every given day for our Nick, with our Nick. We are in the mountains, and the mountains are in us. We still love the mountains.

Read More in the Dodov Family Blog

Why is this foundation important to you?
Through Nickolay Dodov Foundation we would like to encourage, help and support others; kids, teenagers and mountain enthusiasts from all ages to safely explore the mountains and have a healthy and positive lifestyle in the light of our son Nickolay.

Paul Henrickson - Avalanche Educator & Mountain Guide

I was born and raised in Davis, California. I attained a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and spent five years as a fish biologist. I started teaching and guiding backcountry skiing and avalanche awareness in 1994. I currently guide for MAS, present for the NDF and work as a general contractor. I live in Murphys with my wife and my four year old daughter.

Matty Massaglia - Educator & Personality

Matty MassagliaI'm a snowboarder and a carpenter. I was raised in Valley Springs, CA and currently live near Lake Tahoe. I've been riding since the age of fourteen and still love it more each day. The mountains keep you electric!

Why is this foundation important to you?
NDF is important to me because it educates people on backcountry awareness and avalanche safety. It brings so much amazing energy to the young and old. Nickolay was one of my closest and truest friends. He was my Bulgarian brother! We were roommates in Tahoe for years and always pushed each other to our fullest potential. Nicky was one in a million, working for this foundation is a tribute to him. The Good Vibe Tribe is always bringing positivity and love no matter where they go!
Dodov would send it!

Lauren Schimke - Secretary

Lauren SchimkeI am extremely passionate about the Sierra Nevada Mountains and I live full time in Bear Valley. I grew up on the Hwy 4 corridor, and that's where I have many childhood memories. I've lived in some beautiful places, which include Lake Tahoe and Carmel Valley. I love to dance, surf, skateboard, hike, downhill mountain bike, snowboard, ski, wakeboard and snowmobile. At one time I wanted to be a veterinarian, and worked as a vet technician during high school, but my attention turned to the mountain lifestyle. After graduating high school, I was certified as a Emergency Medical Technician and worked on ski patrol at Bear Valley Mountain, and at Squaw Valley. I’ve been a certified Massage Therapist for 10 years, and currently own and operate Trinity Wellness Salon & Spa in Bear Valley. In 2011, I married the love of my life Mike Schimke, who is my best friend and keeps me laughing everyday! Mike is the Manager for the Bear Valley Mountain Terrain Park, he’s incredible skier and competed in the X Games for SlopeStyle. We have 2 dogs, 2 cats and are very grateful to be expecting our first child in May 2014.

Why is this foundation important to you?
The Dodov's kindness, warmth and friendship touched my life forever and because of that I want to help share their foundation's vision with the world. Nick radiated a heart of gold and was one of the most positive friends I had. I attribute my snowboarding skills and style to him, as I always tried to mimic his riding. He taught me a lot about the mountains. He always got me fired up to snowboard, enjoy life to the fullest, and live in the moment. He learned this from his amazing parents Natalia and Alex, who I deeply love and respect! When Nick passed away it was as if his spirit ignited even brighter, his light glows strong and will change lives forever. The perseverance his parents have to carry on Nick's passion for snow sports, inspire others to enjoy the mountain lifestyle with awareness will pave the path for many. I am honored to be a board member of the foundation and help share Nick's legacy with as many people as I can.

John Jackson - Events, Mountain Awareness & Safety

John Jackson

I was born in 1983 in Crowley Lake, CA, a small town 12 miles south of Mammoth Lakes. This valley is one of my favorite places in the world because of its surrounding mountains who offer a huge variety of activities. It’s an adrenaline junkie’s paradise having a great resort and towering peaks to go explore in the winter or summer.

I have one brother and two sisters, and I am very close with my family. We all grew up skiing, but at around age 12 I rented my first snowboard and it was all over from there. I convinced my parents this is what I wanted to do, and they bought a board for my sister and I to share, so we’d trade off. Ever since then snowboarding has been a huge part of my life.

I’ve been snowboarding professionally for most of my adult life, and have worked with dozens of different film projects. I ride for Burton, Red Bull, Go Pro, Von Zipper, LRG, DVS, House of Marley, Mammoth Mountain, Wave Rave, and Jax Union. I was awarded rider of the year and video part of the year by transworld snowboarding and snowboarder mag, in 2010 and 2011. These days I have mostly transitioned from touring the contest circuit to exploring the backcountry making snow movies. We do a lot of work in Alaska and British Colombia. In the summer of 2012 my brother and I did a project with Red Bull called Brothers on the Run, where our goal was to drive from Alaska to Argentina, snowboarding the northern and southern hemispheres while combining a slew of other action sports we love through our long arc of travel.

In 2010 I started a jewelry company called Jax Union, with which we try to give back in philanthropic ways. Inspired by our long trip south, one of our pieces is currently raising money for a new orphanage in Nicaragua. I am also in the restaurant business with my dad and brother.

John JacksonSnowboarding is my passion, but it’s the wonder of exploring the mountains that has me addicted. I have learned so much from the mountains, they have brought me many blessings and I want to give back as much as I can. I also really enjoy fly-fishing, rock climbing, skateboarding, surfing, biking, hot spring hoping, backpacking and of course, traveling. My favorite aspect of traveling so much is having the opportunity to meet so many amazing people.

How did you get connected to the Nick Dodov Foundation?
I met Nick through our common love of snowboarding. We had some close mutual friends growing up, and I moved from Mammoth to Truckee, CA right around the same time Nick did. We had a great group of friends; Nick was one of the strongest links in the crew. I’d often see him in the backcountry. If it was a sunny day after a good storm, Nick was sure to be out there getting after it. He was an avid outdoorsman and always had such a good attitude. I feel like Nick had life pretty dialed, and he strived for it’s true values and importance. He pursued that fire that brings success in our hearts, which is found by doing what we love and pushing those things to the limits. He was a real pleasure to be around, he’d never bring any negativity to the table. I just met Alex and Natalia shortly after his passing, and I remember saying, “man no wonder Nick was so rad.”

Why is this foundation important to you?
This foundation is important to me to carry on Nick’s spirit in doing what he loved. I am blessed and honored to be a part of this group. I want to educate kids with mountain awareness with the hope of preventing such tragedies as Nicks passing.

What does success look like for this foundation?
I see much success in the foundation with its leadership of outdoor enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who have a desire to share their knowledge and experience with others. I hope we can find fun creative ways to provide kids more opportunities to explore the outdoors while promoting snow safety and respect for the mountains.

Stephanie Forbes - Events & Social Media

Stephanie ForbesI am a certified nutritionist and whole foods chef. I work with The Teen Kitchen Project, a local non-profit in Santa Cruz, California.

My husband Jacob and I, have three beautiful children and together we owned The Harmony Project Board shop in Murphy's, California.

Why is this foundation important to you?
Nick was a true brother to me and a best friend to my husband... All sharing the true love of snowboarding. I feel passionately about representing his amazing life and legacy that touched so many people. Live Like Nick.

Cate Wallenfels - PR & Fundraising

Cate WallenfelsI am a home owner in Bear Valley and an avid outdoor enthusiast. I love snowboarding and skiing in the winter and biking and hiking in the summer with my family. I also row crew year round and compete nationally and internationally. I live in Novato, Marin County, on a farm with many rescue animals, and am a volunteer with Marin Humane Society and specialize in behavior and training for foster dogs. I have three children, 20, 17 and 13, and my job is raising them as responsible adults who have a love and respect for all animals, people and the outdoors. My husband of 24 years is the CEO of Timbuk2 and one of the founders of Mountain Hardware, he is also on the board of Big City Mountaineers, an outdoor mentor program for at risk youth; we enjoy outdoor sports together and always have.

Why is this foundation important to you?
The foundation is important to me for Nick's spirit and all that he stood for to live on. So many people were touched by Nick, we need to keep that alive. He was wise beyond his years and would have been a valuable resource in so many ways to our youth of today.

Mike Page - Inspiration & Oversite

Mike PageI am a full time resident & business owner in Bear Valley. As a lifelong skier and Sierra Nevada enthusiast, I have learned that beauty, exhilaration and danger often meet for lunch. I first became friends with Alex & Natalia when studying Russian after traveling thru eastern Europe. I wanted to practice speaking it at every opportunity and discovered Alex could speak Russian too. The friendship grew from there, we enjoy talking about real estate and debating politics. I hike, ski and dine with Alex & Nataila when ever I have free time.

Why is this foundation important to you?
The Dodov's invited me to be on the board. There have been so many tragedies recently involving outdoor sports in general and avalanches in particular. If awareness and education could save lives, then it is obviously worthwhile.

Joel Barnett - Treasurer

Joel BarnettTwelve years ago my wife Pamela, my then one year old son and I ditched our urban America lifestyle and moved full time to the beautiful Sierra just outside Bear Valley. Our family highly prioritizes recreation and we enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, surfing and windsurfing. We play soccer together as a family in our lovely Bear Valley weekly pickup game, and I coach my son’s youth team. Pamela and I own and run Bear Valley Real Estate and Vacation Rentals.

Why is this foundation important to you?
Like every parent everywhere would, I share Alex and Natalia’s angst over the loss of their son, and greatly miss Nick. The love you take is equal to the love you make. I am eager to help Alex and Natalia pay it forward through this Foundation.