Skills Learned From Reality TV Keep Stranded Teen Alive

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Jake Denham


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.

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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.”