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Missing teen found alive: Mom talks to ski resort about what he did right [+video]

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(Read caption) 17-year old Nicholas Joy spent two nights lost in the Maine woods.
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When a missing Massachusetts teen was found alive on Maine's Sugarloaf  Mountain after going missing while skiing, we learned he did everything right to stay alive, including build a snow cave for survival, all of which he credited to knowledge gained by watching TV survival shows. The revelation can reassure parents that there actually is something valuable on television to engage teens’ critical thinking skills and yet motivate them to be outdoors.

Nicholas Joy, 17, was missing on Sugarloaf for nearly two days, but was found early Tuesday morning by a snowmobiler.

I spoke with Ethan Austin, Carabassett Valley Police’s communications director for Sugarloaf this morning, and he explained that the teen, who skied out of bounds off the Binder trail just after noon on Sunday, built a snow cave late that day when he realized he was lost, a skill he told his rescuers he learned from watching survival shows on TV. 

“All credit goes to Nicholas for keeping his wits about him and keeping himself alive using skills from the survival shows he said he likes to watch,” Officer Austin said. “Although he would have done a lot better if he’d worn a hat, remained with a partner [his dad Robert] and kept his cell phone with him.”

As a mom I just about shouted “Amen!” when Austin mentioned the ancient battle of all moms v. son battles, “Wear a hat!”

Austin added that this is not the first time he’s heard that watching TV survival shows has played a major role in the rescue of a skier. “Being involved with the ski industry I keep up with this kind of situation and I have seen a number of times where someone who was found talked about having used tips they learned from a show to get them home safe.”

While some critics argue that watching television survival skill shows may give viewers over confidence of their actual skill levels, thus leading them into danger, I think that if you choose the shows well, and watch with your kids, what you get is motivation.

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