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      Former Northern Michigan University hockey player shares story of survival

      It is a story of survival as Eric LeMarque, a former Northern Michigan University hockey player, shares his story.

      LeMarque also played hockey for France in the 1994 Winter Olympics. Athletics was a way of life for Eric LeMarque. After his hockey career ended, he took up snowboarding, but everything changed on February 4, 2004.

      "As I came down this run on the eastern, most remote part of where I was staying, I almost stepped into another dimension hitting the fog. I had to slow down in the deep snow, and I just totally lost my momentum and all of the sudden found myself completely trapped in, now, up to my waist/chest in snow," said Eric LeMarque.

      LeMarque spent seven days stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains battling the bitter cold and a drug addiction as he continued the fight to stay alive.

      "I immediately remembered, 'You have speed,' and now I kind of wrestled and toyed with my emotions, and so I kind of just took that step to reclaim my life back. I just remember upending that bag and watching the rest of the meth go into the water," LeMarque said.

      On the third day, frostbite set in.

      "It wasn't so much of the pain of ripping the skin off my feet but the shock when I kind of fell back on the snow and looked up and I saw the black and orange, yellow and purple, and it was right there I knew I would lose them," LeMarque said.

      The National Guard found him by the signal coming from his MP3 player. LeMarque is now an author and motivational speaker.

      "I hope others can gain strength from, you know, daily life that may seem overwhelming or a situation that may be growing into a mountain that they can't come out of and that they can gather some strength from my story," LeMarque said.