As CBS News Science and Technology Correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports, the teen's iPod may have saved his life.
Sebastian Gomez, 19, and his best friend, Greg Blea, were on their last run of the day. Heavy snow was falling.
Blea stopped to clean his goggles, and lost sight of Gomez.
"He's my buddy," Blea told reporters later. "We went up looking for him. I couldn't leave him alone."
Blea joined a team of 100 rescuers racing against the clock. They combed the mountain in the air, on snowmobiles and with search dogs.
Just as Gomez hunkered down for another night, he heard a helicopter overhead.
To draw attention, he waved his iPod. The crew on the chopper, wearing night-vision goggles, saw the light. Gomez was found about a mile from the ski area in four feet of snow.
After 26 hours of waiting, a mother's prayers were answered.
"God bless you guys!" a relieved Janet Ashman told Gomez's rescuers. "I just want to say 'thank you' to every single person."
Gomez was flown to Los Alamos Medical Center and was held, mostly as a precautionary measure.
"I was lucky," he understated. "I was really lucky to have survived for that long. ... I was really cold. I had to build shelters at night to sleep because it snowed all night long" the first night.
Luck, and clearly, technology played roles, Sieberg pints out.
You can even download an application on your iPod called "Flashlight" that gives it an even stronger signal.
But really, any light of any cell phone can do the job, Sieberg adds. And what's really important is having a durable cell phone, especially if you're skiing or snowboarding where it's dangerous. A waterproof model is ideal.
Most phones have triangulation, some have GPS, both of which could help rescuers fins you. But you have to make sure the device is charged before setting out.