Teens Survive Night on Keystone Mountain

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Keystone, CO, Jan. 28 (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.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press