Snowboarder recounts being missing for 17 hours at Ski Bluewood - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Snowboarder recounts being missing for 17 hours at Ski Bluewood

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WEST RICHLAND, WA - A snowboarding trip turned into a nightmare for one local man after he went missing for about 17 hours at Ski Bluewood. Today, reporter Mackenzie Maynard talked with Abe Cortina about the whole ordeal. 

"And I just heard snowmobiles go by and they were like, 'are you headed to Bluewood?' And I was like, 'which way's Bluewood?' And they were like, 'are you lost?'"

Today, Abe Cortina and his family were still going over the details. When Mackenzie met with them this afternoon, they talked her through some of the worst moments of their lives: not knowing if Abe was safe.

"It was probably the worst call I've ever had to make in my life," said Abe's sister, "to tell my parents my brother was missing."

Abe's sister had just left Bluewood with her friend when they turned back around. As a family unit, they started sharing his picture and doing anything that would help find him.

"Asking them, 'sorry to bother but my brother is missing', and I showed them the pictures and just for anybody to see anything would be great."

And as for Abe, he's still replaying the thoughts running through his mind.

"Try to stay upbeat about it...occupy myself. Stay alert, stay awake, stay calm."

He's taking today to recover. "My legs are shot just from shaking the whole night and hiking...a little bit of bruising. The roof of my mouth I think I actually damaged eating so much snow on the hike out."

While this weekend is one they will never forget, the moment they knew he was alive and safe was one that stands out.

"'I'll be down there in a little bit', and I said again, 'are you okay?', and he said 'I'm just real hungry, I need some food, hugs, and kisses' and I said 'okay, you'll get them when you come down'," said Abe's father.

The family is extremely grateful to all of those who helped with the search, but Abe is especially grateful for the snowmobilers who picked him up and drove him to the top of the mountain.

"You know, I don't know if I wasn't all there at the time," said Abe. "I just remember thinking, 'you guys have awesome snowmobiles, like these are great, I've never ridden one before', and shook their hands as I was talking to ski patrol. They went on their way and I never got their names," said Abe.