twinski publications

The dramatic and compelling story of Canada’s most fascinating sports figures, forgotten until now.

No Limits the tells the previously undisclosed tale of Canada’s most decorated alpine skiers of all time: Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele. Decades before extreme sports, identical twins Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele were unstoppable, inseparable trailblazers not only for skiers, but also for women and Canadian sports. Today, they’re carving new trails for seniors in sports.

This engrossing book not only details the twins’ accomplishments in downhill ski racing in the Laurentians then throughout North America but also the unique challenges they faced in the 1940s and 1950s. We learn that they were ski jumping at age 11 on Mount Royal, that during a -36 degree snowstorm Rhoda came first in the famed Taschereau race at Mont Tremblant, beating all other women and men by a full 24 seconds, and that in 1948 the twins made up the entire Canadian Olympic women's downhill ski team.

Byron Rempel

In their alpine skiing careers they took every major trophy several times over, thrilling spectators and reporters with their daring style. From 1942 to 1948 they placed first and second in over 100 tournaments, many that are now part of the World Cup Circuit, like Aspen Colorado, Alta Utah and the famed Arlberg-Kandahar at Chamonix France where Rhoda reached the podium only a few weeks after being injured at the Olympics, stunning her European rivals.

Byron Rempel also uncovers the Wurtele's disregard for barriers and limits, as they continued to compete after they were married and had children. Rhona skied for the US World Championship team, while Rhoda participated in the 1952 Olympics and was manager and assistant coach of the 1959 Canadian Women's Alpine Team in Europe. Both then taught thousands of young girls to ski (with the Ski Jays program) and finally pushed Westmount housewives out of the kitchen and onto the slopes. They are still skiing and inspiring seniors to ski well into their 80s and 90s.

Despite all their wins on the slopes, the twins reveal what is most important to them: their equally talented and dogged children, among them dancer Margie Gillis and her late brother Christopher Gillis, NHL player Jere Gillis, and freestyle ski champion and stunt skier John Eaves.

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Editions Histoire du Québec