My Great Aunts – Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele

Skiing has come a long way in the past century, from a mere winter novelty to, for some, an entire way of life. This is especially true in places like Quebec, where the Laurentians and Eastern Townships have seen the sport develop in leaps and bounds.

And 60 years ago, many of those leaps and bounds were executed by Westmount natives Rhoda and Rhona Wurtele — twin sisters whose skills on the slopes have passed on through the years into local lore.

Their story is a fascinating one, filled with challenge and accomplishment, but until now much of it has been preserved only through faded newspaper clippings and old photographs in family albums. But with the aptly titled No Limits, author Byron Rempel has put everything together in a thick, comprehensive book that celebrates the twins’ eventful lives.

In his breezy narrative, generously illustrated by everything from formal photos to posters and publications, Rempel deftly traces the Wurteles’ rise to prominence and chronicles their subsequent lives as the mothers of equally accomplished children.

The reader follows the twins from their childhood on Upper Lansdowne Avenue in a very young, undeveloped Westmount where “fox and pheasants still ran across front lawns,” right through to the present day where at 85 they are widely recognized as living legends — goodwill ambassadors for a sport that has changed considerably since they first turned heads on the long-extinct Cote des Neiges ski jump.

No Limits stands not only as a detailed double biography; it also provides readers with a veritable history of skiing in Canada through dozens of sidebars and historical vignettes that place the two protagonists firmly in a specific time period as the story progresses. As a result, it is a must-read for avid skiers and local history buffs alike.

• No Limits: The Amazing Life Story of Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele by Byron Rempel is available through Twinski at http://www.zeebabooks.com/
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~ by trevorandheather on December 3, 2007.

One Response to “My Great Aunts – Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele”

  1. That’s cool!
    For those of you who don’t know, Trev’s dad Glenn was the head coach of the Canadian National Men’s ski team for many years, and Trev was a stud downhill skier as a kid before he sold his soul to the bicycle gods.
    I am a rogue free-heel (telemark) skiier, but I was lucky enough to be accepted into the illustrious Wurtele family despite my failings. How privileged am I!!??

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