Snowboarder ready to go again after Colorado ordeal
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – A snowboarder who survived three days in the Colorado backcountry with a single energy bar for food said he feels well and is ready to return to the slopes Sunday.
Wayne Alexander Brown, 42, of Alamosa, said Friday he’ll be more careful next time and will take along his new avalanche beacon and an extra energy bar.
“It was a roller coaster,” he said. “One minute I thought I was going to live, and the next I thought I was going to die.”
Brown said he became disoriented in a whiteout at the Wolf Creek Ski Area last Saturday and didn’t realize he had wandered out-of-bounds. He said he first headed downhill, then followed a stream, using his snowboard to climb through waist-deep snowdrifts.
Brown said he fasted Sunday, ate half his energy bar on Monday and the other half on Tuesday. After about 72 hours in the wilderness, a helicopter commissioned by the ski resort saw Brown’s tracks in the snow and found him – weak but otherwise unscathed.
He slept the first night under a tree, taking shelter from the fast-falling snow.
The following day he kept walking, trying to get past a waterfall by jumping with his board, but that resulted in him falling, bruising his ribs and losing his hat, goggles and a glove.
After the fall, Brown came upon an abandoned U.S. Forest Service cabin with a gas stove, where he could melt snow for water and dry his damp clothes. Brown tried to move farther, but stayed in the cabin the next two nights.
The bruises and some tingling – not frostbitten – fingers and toes are the only injuries he sustained.
“It’s a miracle. I’m in pretty good shape,” he said.
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