NDF has created The Schmidt Award in the name of Marty and Denali Schmidt, father and son who lost their lives in an avalanche on K2 in 2013. Marty and Denali Schmidt created a new route on Denali in 2011. They named this route "Dad and Son". In 2013, Marty and Denali Schmidt went to the summit of Broad Peak, an 8,000 meter climb in Pakistan before attempting to summit K2.
The Award has been given Annually for exceptional commitment and achievement in the field of Avalanche Education
The first Schmidt Award was given in 2014 to the Bear Valley Ski patrols marking one year after Marty and Denali lost their lives in the avalanche on K2.
In 2015 NDF awarded the Schmidt Award to Sierra Avalanche Center.
In 2016 NDF awarded with the Annual Schmidt Award to our own avalanche educator Paul Henrickson.
In 2017 NDF awarded the Schmidt award to Utah Avalanche center.
2018 marked the 5th year since Marty and Denali were taken from us, therefore NDF awarded the Schmidt Award to five Avalanche Educators; Karl Birkeland, the Director of the National Avalanche Center, Doug Chabot, the Director of the Gallatin Avalanche Center, Georgi Georgiev, Hristo Ivanov and Yourdan Smolichki, mountain guides and avalanche educators from Free Mountains Association in Bulgaria.
The 2019 Schmidt Award was given to the NDF Avalanche Educator Michael McCarthy for developing the NDF five-hour interactive avalanche educational workshop for youth
The 2020 Schmidt Award was given to the NDF Avalanche Educator Richard Bothwell for teaching avalanche safety to youth and all ages mountain enthusiasts!
The 2021 Schmidt Award was given to five nominees for being essential part of NDF outreach to thousands with avalanche education in such a difficult year.
Casey Glaubman - NDF Avalanche Educator, Executive Director of Friends of Mount Shasta Avalanche Center, Lead Guide for Shasta Mountain Guides
Jason Bilek - NDF Avalanche Educator, Heli- Snowboard Guide, Professional Observer for Sierra Ranch Center
Duncan Lee - NDF Avalanche Educator, Professional Backcountry Snowmobiler, Sierra Avalanche Center Adviser
Craig Gordon - NDF Special Adviser, Utah Avalanche Center Forecaster, Founder of the “Know Before You Go” Program
Nick Meyers - NDF Special Adviser, Director of Mount Shasta Avalanche Center
The 2022 Schmidt Award is given to Daron Rahlves, US Ski Member, World Cup Racer, Olympian, Big Mountain Backcountry Extreme Ski Rider, Ski Coach, Husband, and Father, and High Vibes Personally Human for his passion spreading avalanche education to youth