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Hawaii skier survives after being stranded on snow-covered mountain

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Sep 30 2013 06:41:00 PM HST

A Hawaii man's death-defying vacation almost became his last vacation.

HONOLULU -

Hawaii skier Toby Kravet continues to recover after his near-death experience in New Zealand. The 72-year-old had an accident while skiing that left both of his legs broken. He was stuck on a snow-covered mountain near Treble Cone in the freezing cold.

"I'm going downhill at a break-neck speed downhill and boom, I went into a gully and my skis went into the embankment on the other side," said Kravet.

Kravet says visibility was poor as weather moved in to the area near Treble Cone late in the day. He could have stayed in the lodge and called it a day but instead, he chose to go back up the mountain for one more run. He says at times, he could only see about 4 feet in front of him.

He attempted to ski down the mountain but went off course and ended up in a gulch.

"I rolled over and looked at my boot and my left boot is pointing towards my leg a little bit," said Kravet.

Both of Kravet's legs were broken, and he was miles from help, but just before sunset, he saw a helicopter.

"And I had grabbed my poles and I was waving them, and the helicopter didn't see me, and I knew at that point I was in for the night," said Kravet.

Death initially clouded Kravet's mind but his gut told him that he could make it through this situation despite the freezing temperature. Kravet says he went into survival mode.

"I'm going to have to stay awake, I'm going to be here all night, I cant let myself go to sleep and I have to keep my blood moving," said Kravet.

Kravet did sets of exercises that he made up on the fly including, 100 reps of clapping, hugging himself, and hitting his legs with his hands all night.

"I just knew that I had to keep doing what I was doing to stay alive," said Kravet.

After 17 hours waiting, help flew in.

"I was waving my poles and he came bee-lining to me," said Kravet. "I'm thinking I am a very fortunate man."

Kravet was able to finally return to Hawaii about a month after his injury. He'll be in rehab for at least another three weeks before being re-evaluated by his doctor. Kravet plans on someday skiing again at Treble Cone in New Zealand.

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