Skills Learned From Reality TV Keep Stranded Teen Alive

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Jake Denham

CNN

See? Reality television is useful.

Jake Denham of Portland is a lucky boy. The 14-year-old, who went skiing at Mount Bachelor in Oregon on New Year’s Eve, has thankfully been found after a nine-hour search, having endured temperatures as low as minus-5 degrees. But he’s attributing his survival techniques to the lessons learned from watching reality television, which enabled him to eventually find his way out of the woods.

(See the top 10 reality TV shows.)

Denham is literally owing his life to two of his favorite TV programs, Man vs. Wild and Survivor Man. “I love those shows,” he told ABC affiliate KOHD-TV. After losing one of his skis in deep terrain, Denham managed to make it out of that area on foot and proceeded to make a small snow cave for cover. “It started getting dark, and I saw the stars. I saw Venus — it was red and bigger than the North Star,” Denham said. “I dug a canal, and it went up a hill, so the wind would blow over it so the wind wouldn’t hit me,” he concluded, no doubt now eying a career in reality TV himself.

But there’s more: Taking heed of what TV has taught him, Denham found ski trails and followed them down the mountain. “I went down and then when I got lost, I got down on my hands and knees and followed the trail again,” he said. “I walked down, and then I saw lights.”

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His mother, Becky Denham, is impressed with her son’s keen sense of survival skills. “What was incredible is that Jake got out in perfect condition,” she said. “He has a lot of determination when he sets his mind to something.”

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