Bernard Coudurier reaching into the hole and holding Anna Conrad's hand on April 5, 1982. Photo courtesy of Bob Moore.
What about meeting with the families of the victims?
Woodlief: I met with Katie Nelson, who lost her daughter and husband in the avalanche. I had to make her feel comfortable and trust me—she had to know that I wasn’t going to exploit them. Our first meeting lasted 10 hours. She had said she was willing to talk about their lives but she didn’t want to talk about their deaths. But by hour seven or eight, she opened up. She retold their story.
What was it like meeting Anna Conrad, the girl who was rescued after five days of being buried?
Woodlief: Before I wrote the book, I got Anna’s cooperation. I told her what I was doing and asked how she felt about it. wasn’t opposed to it. By the time I got to interviewing her, she had heard through other ski patrollers. She couldn’t have made it easier. She is so steady and poised and strong. I could have guessed that—she spent five days buried and frostbitten and yet was absolutely sure rescuers were coming for her.
To purchase the book, go to awallofwhite.com.