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Snowboarders survive adventure in Wyoming

Two Hudson snowboarders took a treacherous ride down a Wyoming mountain Christmas Eve and survived to tell about it.

Andrew Reese, 17, a Hudson High School senior, and fellow snow enthusiast Nick Anderson, 22, left a snowmobile excursion into the Bridger-Teton National Forest to snowboard down Angle Mountain about noon Christmas Eve day, according to reports.

The plan was for the snowmobile contingent to pick them up at the bottom.

Reese and Anderson cruised down the north side of the mountain on terrain that had a high threat of avalanches and was not a recommended route of travel.

"It was great, but when we got to the bottom and started walking around, we realized we were lost," said Reese in a cell phone conversation Thursday afternoon from Wyoming.

A local lodge manager estimated the two covered thousands of vertical feet and 3.5 miles in the process.

The Hudsonites were reported missing at 5:42 p.m.

Reese and Anderson walked in waist-high snow until sunset. "We built a fire to try and take turns sleeping," said Reese, but added they had to walk to keep warm.

Local reports said the temperature dipped from 16 degrees to minus 4 at 9 a.m. Because of the harsh weather, a team from Teton County Search and Rescue didn't begin until daybreak.

The pair hiked to the top of a ridge line Christmas morning, where they got cell phone reception, dialed 911 and learned a search party was under way.

"We walked past a mountain lion," said Reese, "He was up in a tree eating a rabbit. He said they gave the cat a wide berth and were glad he already had a meal in hand.

They were rescued about 10 a.m., said Reese. The pair had been out in the back country for nearly 24 hours.

An e-mail message from Nathan Reese, Andrew's father, to the Star-Observer said, "Fortunately no fingers or toes were lost but they both suffered from low body temps and exhaustion when they were found.

"Our families are very thankful for the good outcome of this situation," he added.

A report in the Jackson Hole News & Chronicle online edition said Reese and Anderson reunited with the rest of the group and ate cheeseburgers at the Togwotee Mountain Lodge.