Teens Survive Night on Mountain

KEYSTONE, Colo. (AP) – Two teen-age cousins from Louisiana survived a frigid night on a mountain by huddling so close to a fire that they charred their lift tickets.

Neither Brandon Cranford, 14, nor Dustin Cranford, 17, both of Alexandria, La., was injured.

Rescuers found the boys about 9:40 a.m. Thursday, almost 17 hours after they were supposed to meet their families.

Dustin said he had trouble in the powder at the top of a run at the Keystone ski area so the two went under boundary rope to find easier terrain.

Brandon said they were told the boundary rope “was just there to keep you from flying off into the trees.”

After using twigs to kindle a fire and pulling branches off trees to keep it going, the two burrowed into chest-deep snow to endure the 10-degree weather Wednesday night.

“At first, I was scared, but after I got the fire going and got my bearings, I wasn’t,” said Brandon, who carries his father’s initialed cigarette lighter even though he doesn’t smoke. “If we hadn’t had the fire, it would have been a lot worse.”

Searchers found the boys after a Keystone employee noticed tracks from a snowboard and pair of skis going out of bounds.