The 21-year-old snowboarder, who survived three nights of bitter cold on a mountain north of Vancouver, returned to the back country of Mount Seymour Friday for the first time since his miraculous rescue on Wednesday.

Riding in a helicopter with his mom, Jamie Martin talked about what it was like to be stuck in the freezing wilderness, not knowing whether or not he would ever be found.

"My boots were full of water,'' Martin told a CTV reporter, who went along for the helicopter ride.

After realizing that he was alone and lost, Martin spent the time walking in a bid to stay awake. He also ate berries just to get by.

"Berries didn't taste very good,'' he said.

He saw the helicopters looking for him the day before his rescue, but he couldn't find a clearing in time.

At the time, he wondered if the helicopter would ever return.

As she surveyed the area where her son was lost, Debbie Martin said she was astonished at how Jamie beat the odds.

"People kept saying, you got to have hope. But deep down I think they thought it wasn't looking good," she said.

Both can't stop gushing about how grateful they are to the search crews and volunteers, who led the rescue effort.

"Thank you, you saved my life, I owe you more than I could ever give you,'' Jamie said.

Sitting beside the chopper that rescued him, Martin displayed the hands and feet that are still frostbitten.

"My feet are so swollen, I have to wear sandals,'' he said.

For now, he's just happy he can still use them. "I will take some time give people hugs when I get home,'' he said. Home is in Orillia, Ont.

But Jamie plans to return to B.C. very soon.

"'This province is my favourite part of Canada by far,'' he said. For her part, mother Debbie says she probably has no choice but to allow him to return.

With a report by CTV British Columbia's Reshmi Nair