MONARCH, Colo. (CBS4) – A skier explained to CBS4 how she and a friend survived more than two days lost in the backcountry without food or any survival gear.

Kelsey Malin and a friend went skiing at Monarch Ski Area last month. They accidentally went out of bounds and became stuck in deep snow. She was able to build a snow cave. That and some incredible luck likely saved her life, according to what Ski Patrol told her.

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Monarch Pass (credit: CBS)

Monarch Pass (credit: CBS)

No one even knew they were missing. The next 52 hours was a fight for survival. Both eventually were rescued after another backcountry skier spotted them and went for help.

Malin and her friend both suffered severe frostbite.

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CBS4's Matt Kroschel interviews Kelsey Malin (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Matt Kroschel interviews Kelsey Malin (credit: CBS)

“Honestly the whole experience is still kind of surreal. I’m just really happy I’m alive. I have to put up with some frostbite and some pain,” Malin said. “It was definitely a harrowing experience … once you realize the situation you’re in there are times … I didn’t think I was necessarily going to make it out of there.”

Ski Patrol told Malin they probably wouldn’t have survived another night. She says the skier who went for help is a mystery and she’d really like to find him to say thank you again.

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Malin is back to work and now doctors think they can save all of her toes.