Nicholas Stacy-Alcantara, a resident of Fresno, California, decided to spend his January holidays with an ex-girlfriend in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to NBC News, the 17-year-old American went for a walk in the snowy mountains, taking advantage of the good weather.

“I enjoy trekking. It’s like a mental cleanse,” Nicholas said. He brought a briefcase containing sandwiches, a bottle of water, and a phone.

He took a taxi to the mountains east of Utah’s capital, planning to return for dinner that evening.

However, once Nicholas was alone in the mountains, the weather worsened. A minor storm hit, accompanied by heavy snowfall. His legs began to freeze, the route on his phone became lost, and cell service was down.

Realizing he needed shelter, Nicholas found a small area beneath a tree and created a snow cave for protection against the blizzard.

When he didn’t return for dinner, his ex-girlfriend and her mother grew worried and contacted the police. Nicholas started to fear for his survival.

“I’m a 17-year-old who has never had to survive such circumstances. I’m from Fresno, and we don’t usually face such low temperatures,” he noted.

What kept Nicholas motivated was not just survival instincts but also a wristband his ex-girlfriend had given him at the start of their relationship.

“This reminded me of family members who had always cared for me,” he said.

To stay awake, Nicholas set alarms on his phone every half hour throughout the night.

At dawn, Nicholas left his frozen refuge and sought help. He encountered hikers with a satellite phone, who immediately called for assistance.

“I just said, ‘Please. I just need some help, please. I’m stranded here.'”

By the time emergency services arrived, Nicholas’s shoes had frozen into icy blocks, and he couldn’t wear them. He was airlifted to the University of Utah.

Doctors managed to save his legs from frostbite, but there remains a possibility of amputation.

“Winter mountain hiking in Utah is very dangerous. He did the right thing by letting someone know where he was going. If he hadn’t, it might have taken years before someone found his body.”

Although Utah residents are known for their adventurous spirit, much of the state lacks cell phone coverage, especially near urban areas.

“I’m very glad he’s still alive,” his ex-girlfriend’s mother said.