ANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) _ Five teen-age boys who spent the night lost on a northern Idaho ski resort that was raked by a snowstorm were safe Sunday after three found their way home and two were spotted by snowmobilers.
“There wasn’t much to do but keep yourself huddled together,” said 15-year-old Aaron Baudry-Peterson, among the three boys who found their way home.
“You just sat there and you didn’t get any sleep,” he said. “So I sat there and I prayed all night long.”
The two boys who were found by snowmobilers _ Canadian brothers A.J. Kolla, 13, and his 15-year-old brother Mike _ were in good condition Sunday afternoon at Schweitzer Mountain ski resort.
“The younger boy possibly has frostbitten hands,” one searcher said.
On Saturday, wind gusts of up to 50 mph combined with 18 inches of snow to create extreme avalanche danger and snow drifts up to 10 feet. Temperatures at the base of the resort dipped to 23 degrees overnight.
The group of three boys _ all 15 and part of a separate skiing party from the Canadian brothers_ trekked through waist-deep snow to get to safety Sunday morning.
Another of the boys was identified as Justin Haeger; the fifth boy was not identified. The three boys, who had been on an outing with a church group from Spokane, Wash., about 70 miles southwest of here, said they had been snowboarding and had not seen out-of-bound signs. They spent the night inside a snow cave they had built as refuge against the overnight storm and started walking downhill around dawn.
They said they followed train whistles to find the base of the mountain and eventually reached the home of Bill Findley, a member of the sheriff’s search and rescue team who was home sick.
“They were soaked clear through and shaking,” said Findley. “Their hands were pure white.”
Bonner County sheriff’s Cpl. Bob Howard said the boys were suffering from frostbite and one was “pretty ill.” They were taken to a hospital in Sandpoint for treatment and released. The Schweitzer resort has more than 2,400 acres of ski runs and is located in the Selkirk Mountains. The peaks near the resort exceed 6,000 feet.