Niko Suokko was an 18-year old who loved snow, backcountry and adventure. He was an avid skier and snowmobiler with extreme passion for life!

Niko lost his life in a tragic avalanche accident on February 25th, 2018 in the backcountry of the Alpental Valley near Snoqualmie Pass. He had training (AIARE Level 1), knowledge and proper gear but unfortunately other factors played a significant role that led to this unimaginable accident.

We lost a dear son, caring brother, and an amazing friend.

NIKO18.LIFE is fueled by Niko’s legacy and the need to keep our youth safe in the backcountry.


Our mission is to build avalanche awareness and education specifically designed for youth.

In the last few decades the backcountry has become more accessible to everyone, making it possible even for the youth to venture out on their own. As exciting and inspiring the nature can be, it can be equally dangerous without proper knowledge, preparation and mindset. To arm the youth with all these 3 essentials, there is a need for a youth focused avalanche educational model as most currently available courses are aimed towards mature adults.

Project and Collaboration

In collaboration with the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC), we are working through this journey of the youth avalanche and snow safety education rebuild.

We completed a worldwide assessment of existing youth education programs where we researched the global landscape of existing curriculums, surfaced past academic research in youth education, and connected with avalanche centers domestically and internationally.

This baseline enabled us to frame the scope of the (re)build, including networking with existing programs, and ultimately allowing us to build the best youth avalanche education program in the world.

We have created the initial curriculum with the first pilot in collaboration with The Mountaineers Adventure Club (MAC) during the 2019-2020 winter season. Curriculum and course development continued during 2020 with the feedback and learnings from the first pilot.

We are now getting ready to run second round of pilot courses across Washington and Idaho during the 2020-2021 winter season.

Our ambitions about U.S. national and even global reach have further strengthened and we aim to be ready for that scale starting 2021.


A dedicated NIKO18.LIFE fund has been setup within NWAC to support this cause and enable us to obtain the knowledge and experience from the best of the best for our educational development team. NWAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization making your donation tax deductible.

Please join us in this important cause by donating and be part of developing a “safety culture” among the youth in the backcountry, one step at a time.

We sincerely thank you for your support.

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Banner photo Jason Hummel