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Lost Teenage Skier Credits Reality TV Survival Skills

Maine Warden Service(BOSTON) -- The teenage skier who survived two freezing nights alone in the woods said he used skills he learned from reality television to survive the snow and blistering winds.

Nicholas Joy, 17, of Medford, Mass., was found at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, three days after he disappeared from Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine on Sunday afternoon.

The teen was found on the Caribou Pond Road snowmobile trail, on the west side of the mountain, by Warwick, Mass., fire captain Joel Paul said.  Joy was about four miles from a road and two miles from Sugarloaf Mountain.

“He was hungry.  I gave him some peanuts and crackers I had in my snowmobile,” Paul told ABC News affiliate WCVB.  “He said he watched a survival show on TV and basically took branches and snow and made himself a shelter and slept under the shelter.”

Joy, a senior at Medford High School, is expected to be released from the hospital later Wednesday and his mother, Donna, is understandably ecstatic her son is safe.

“He said ‘I’m so glad to see you,’ and I said the same thing,” she told WCVB after visiting her son at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine, on Tuesday.

Joy’s ordeal began when he got separated from his father while skiing Sunday afternoon.  Blinded by snow and strong winds, Joy says he kicked into survival mode, building a cave and covering his body with twigs and leaves.  During the day, he drank water from nearby streams and followed the faint remains of snowshoe tracks to the road where he was eventually found by Paul.

“I turned the news on to see what the weather was like, to go snowmobiling, and I heard about Nicholas,” Paul told ABC News.  “My grandfather and I used to hike up there a lot, so I knew the trail well and figured I could help out.”

Joy was walking along the snowmobile trail when Paul spotted the teenager waving him down.

“I’m glad to see somebody,” Joy told Paul when he was first rescued.

Paul and the EMTs were surprised at how good Joy looked after being stuck in freezing temperatures, which dipped down into the low teens, and snowy conditions.

“I thought, like most everybody, that he was hurt, broke a leg or something like that.  He was cold but for being in the woods for two days, he was in great shape,” said Paul.

The first thing Joy asked for after being transported to the hospital was a cheeseburger.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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