The votes were counted andrecounted and the country finally has a winner — Ryan Hall. The 22-year-oldlocal snowboarder spent more than 600 hours in a 16-square-foot gondola cabinwaiting for the vote. “We hung in there,” Hall said, as he accepted his$20,000 check as the winner of “The Fox” radio station’s survivor contest atKeystone. “I’m so stoked.”

Hall outlasted four other survivor contestants and three severe winterstorms in the month-long contest. “The hardest day was yesterday,” Hall said.”It was such a long day. It was rough.”

Hall edged out fellow survivor, Jamie Carlos Manzanares. “It came down tome and Jamie,” Hall said. “It was a close race.” Manzanares received morevotes. “I feel like Al Gore,” he said. “I got more votes and kind of lost.I think I lost. It was close, but I guess I’ll have to concede.”

Every week the contestants voted one of their fellow survivors out of thegondola cabin. “In this case you really don’t want more votes,” Manzanaressaid. “Oh well, at least now I can actually sleep in a real bed again.”Manzanares won a season pass for Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin andplans to take a trip to Mexico to celebrate the end of the contest.

“We heard Jesse Jackson just flew into town to file an appeal on behalf ofour second place finisher — ‘Carlos,’” said Rick Lewis, on-air morningpersonality for “The Fox.” “Let’s do a recount. I’m not sure if all thevotes were counted.”

None of the survivors contested the results. Rex Reckseen, a 46-year-oldcarpenter from Denver, was the first survivor voted out of the contest.Twenty-six-year-old dancer Tenell was the second and 23-year-old Denver localKimberly Dickey was the third.

“This was one of the zaniest things I’ve ever seen at Keystone,” saidGinny Sak, senior marketing manager for Keystone. “Now, we just need to cleanthe gondola cabin. I hope the survivors will come back during the season andwant to ride the gondola again.”

Hall plans to quit his job and use his $20,000 prize money to snowboardand travel. He doesn’t have immediate plans to spend more than 10-15 minutesin a gondola ever again. “It feels so good to be out of there,” he said. “I’m not excited to get back into another gondola anytime soon. But now Ihave money to ride all season long.”

For more information about Keystone’s more spacious accommodations orevents, call 1-800-404-3535 or visit keystoneresort.com.