SANTA FE, N.M. – A couple who spent three frigid nights lost near a Santa Fe ski area was rescued Tuesday by helicopter after they stomped SOS in the snow.
Adam Putnam, 36, and his fiancee, Rachel Fehl, 30, were treated at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and released.
"They had no significant injuries other than some cold toes, exhaustion and mild dehydration," said Arturo Delgado, a hospital spokesman.
They were hungry and tired but alert and "in very good spirits" when they left the hospital after about two hours in the emergency department, Delgado said.
Delgado said the couple told him they slept on pine boughs in snow caves. They had a backpack hydration system with them that they filled with snow and stuffed into their clothing to melt.
"It didn't melt very quickly, but they did manage to get some hydration from it," he said.
The two got lost Saturday in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains just east of Santa Fe after snowboarding out of bounds at Ski Santa Fe, authorities said.
The couple contacted authorities at least four times Tuesday by cell phone, and searchers honed in on their location by tracking their calls, said Peter Olson, state Department of Public Safety spokesman.
A rescue helicopter spotted the couple waving their hands near the top of Little Tesuque Peak, Anglada said.
"They had stamped out SOS in the snow with their feet," Anglada said.
Whiteout conditions hampered search efforts Monday, but Tuesday's clear skies allowed the hunt to continue. Low temperatures in the area ranged from 33 degrees on Sunday to 16 degrees on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.
Putnam's father, Steve Putnam, said his son, a hospital emergency room physician, has "done all kinds of avalanche survival training" and is experienced in winter camping.
Meanwhile, the search resumed for two snowboarders missing since Saturday near Colorado's Wolf Creek Ski Area.
Two helicopters and about 40 or 50 people on skis and snowmobiles were looking for 27-year-olds Michael George and Kyle Kerschen, both of Albuquerque. Heavy snowfall and the threat of avalanches hampered earlier search efforts.
George's mother, Laura George, said the men were unprepared for cold nights in the open, and that they probably didn't have much food or water.
"My son has been hiking and fishing, but he's never been tested like this," she said.
The area where the two men are believed to have gone missing has received more than 4 feet of snow in the past three days, Mineral County Sheriff Fred Hosselkus said.