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Stranded snowboarder says thoughts of family kept him alive

Published: Monday, Jan. 13 2014 5:33 p.m. MST

Snowboarder Terence Hulsman hugs his wife, Amy, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, after spending the night on the mountain and being rescued near Snowbasin. At left is his father, Mike Hulsman.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SNOWBASIN — A snowboarder stuck overnight on a mountain said thoughts of his family kept him alive throughout the chilling ordeal.

Terence Hulsman, 38, had gotten lost while snowboarding Sunday with a friend near Snowbasin.

Hulsman, of North Salt Lake, braved gusts of wind that reached 45 mph, along with 5 inches to 6 inches of snow that accumulated through the night.

Thirteen hours after searchers began looking for him, the pilot of a helicopter spotted Hulsman waving his arms on the Ogden side of Snowbasin early Monday.

He held his family tight when they were reunited around 10 a.m. Monday after he was rescued from the mountain.

"Yeah, I got a 4- and 2-year-old and Mama. I had to make it," he said.

Hulsman was cold and dehydrated but was able to walk on his own Monday morning. He requested an IV while he was on the mountain, but it was unclear whether he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

There was a blizzard Sunday night when Hulsman said he was "pushed down real hard," then headed the wrong way and became lost.

Jason Minchey, who was on the mountain with Hulsman, reached the bottom of the slope and could not find his friend. After a while, he reported his friend as missing.

"The winds were howling, and he just got out ahead of me," Hulsman said, adding that he was scared but knew things would probably work out.

"I dug in for the night and just felt like … (with) a little bit of patience, it could work out," he said.

In addition to the wind and snow, rescuers fought against avalanche risk. The Utah Avalanche Center issued a warning for the area. Backcountry and upper mountains above 8,500 feet are categorized as high for avalanche danger.

Twenty-five rescuers had searched from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday without luck, then resumed the search about 8 a.m. Monday.

The pilot of a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted Hulsman waving his arms from the Ogden side of Snowbasin before 9 a.m. Monday. Rescuers then had to determine the best way to get him down.

Minchey said Hulsman is lucky to be alive.

"We're just really grateful that his survival instincts kicked in and he bunkered down and made it," he said.

Email: aadams@deseretnews.com; wevans@deseretnews.com

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