Hall of Famer
Rhoda Wurtele Eaves
Rhoda Wurtele together with identical twin, Rhona, were born in St Lambert, Quebec, on January 21, 1922. The initial caption in the May 1944 issue of True Comics described them as “…two of the world’s best women skiers and probably the best all-around athletes Canada has ever produced”. Essentially, their skiing careers were inseparable, as was their ability.
In 1942, they were both asked to participate in try-outs for the international team with Rhona finishing in first place and Rhoda, second. The following week, they competed against the United States Women’s team and again placed first and second in both the Downhill and Combined events. In their first international meet against the United States National Women’s Team at Lake Placid, New York, the positions were reversed, Rhoda in first, Rhona, second. In February 1943, the twins competed for the Kate Smith International Women’s Trophy and again they took two of the first three places, Rhona in first place, Rhoda, third. It was a pattern repeated time and again throughout their competitive careers.
Partial competitive record:
1st place, Downhill event, 2nd place Combined, Ladies International Ski Meet, Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
1st place, Taschereau Downhill, Mont Tremblant, Quebec
1st place, Downhill event, Laurentian Zone Championships, Mt Baldy, Quebec
1st place, Downhill & Slalom events, Mont Tremblant, Quebec
1st place, Taschereau Downhill
1st place, Taschereau Downhill event, Mont Tremblant, Quebec
2nd place, Combined event, Kate Smith International, Lake Placid, NY, USA
1st place, Slalom & Downhill events, Laurentian Zone, Mont Gabriel, Québec
1st place, combined Alta cup
1st Downhill, Slalom & Combined events, Ontario Ladies Meet, Collingwood, ON
1st place, Taschereau Downhill event, Mt Tremblant, Quebec
2nd place, Combined event, Kate Smith International, Lake Placid, New York
1st place, Slalom Great Divide, Banff, Alberta
1st place, Silver Belt trophy, in Sugarbowl
2nd place, Combined event, Mont Orford, Quebec
1st place, Combined event, Laurentian Zone, Mt Baldy, Quebec
1st place, Great Divide Slalom, Banff, Alberta
1st place, Silver Belt Trophy, Sugar Bowl, California, USA, Winner, Colonial Airways Trophy
1st place, Slalom, 2nd place Combined event, United States Eastern National Championships, Pico, Peak, Vermont, USA
1st place, Downhill, 2nd place Combined event, Ladies International Meet, Mont Gabriel, Quebec
1st place, Downhill, 1st place Combined event, United States National Championships, Ogden, Utah
2nd place, Far West Kandahar, Timberline, Oregon
2nd place, Slalom event, Silver Dollar Race, Reno, Nevada
Runner up for the Lou Marsh Trophy awarded to Canada’s Outstanding Athlete
Selected to represent Canada on the women’s alpine team at the V Olympic Winter Games, St Moritz, Switzerland.
Unable to compete because of an injury to her ankle sustained during a training run.
3rd place, Arlberg Kandahar Downhill, Chamonix, France
1st place, 2-Downhill events, Roach Cup, North American Downhill & Combined, Aspen Colorado, USA.
1st place Slalom, 1st Downhill, 1st Combined, Kate Smith International, Lake Placid, NY, USA
1st place Downhill, 1st place Slalom, 1st place Combined (Holt-Wilson Trophy1), Dominion Championships, Mont Tremblant, Quebec
1st place Slalom, 1st place Combined, Kate Smith International, Lake Placid, NY, USA
1st place Downhill, 1st place Slalom, 1st place Combined, Dominion Championships, Mont Tremblant, Quebec.
1st place Downhill, 1st place Combined, Harriman Cup, Sun Valley Idaho, USA
1st place Downhill, 1st place Slalom, 1st place Combined, Quebec Kandahar, Quebec
Selected to represent Canada on the women’s alpine team at the VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo, Norway and finished in 9th place in the Downhill event.
1st place Slalom, 1st place Combined (Downhill & Giant Slalom), Holmenkollen Races, Norway
1st place, Downhill event, Parsenn, Davos, Switzerland 2nd place, Hannes Schneider Pokal, St Anton, Austria
2nd place, Dorftalli Giant Slalom, Davos, Switzerland
2nd place, Slalom event, Canadian Senior Championships, Mont Tremblant, Quebec
1st place, Giant Slalom event, Kirchberg, Austria
Manager & Assistant Coach for the Canadian Women’s national team in Europe
Other honors and awards
Federation Rose Bowl for “Canada’s Most Outstanding Woman Athlete” (awarded jointly with twin sister, Rhona)
Colonial Airways Trophy for “…most outstanding skier, Laurentians)
Lou Marsh Trophy as runner-up “Canada’s Most Outstanding Athlete”. (Awarded jointly with twin sister, Rhona)
Member of the Canadian ski team at the V Olympic Winter Games, St Moritz, Switzerland
Member of the Canadian ski team at the VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo, Norway
Inducted into The Amateur Athletic Union of Canada Hall of Fame Inducted with twin sister, Rhona)
Inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame
Inducted into The United States Ski Hall of Fame (inducted with twin sister, Rhona)
Inducted into The Canadian Ski Hall of Fame (formerly the Canadian Honour Roll of Skiing) (inducted with twin sister, Rhona)
Inducted into The Laurentian Ski Hall of Fame (with twin sister, Rhona)
Honored by the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance for more than 50-years as a dedicated member of the CSIA since 1943 (awarded also to twin sister, Rhona)
Ski Canada Magazine award for “Canadian Skiers of Distinction” (awarded also to twin sister, Rhona)
1 H P Douglas, My Skiing Years, Whitcombe & Gilman, Montreal, 1951 (origin of Holt-Wilson Trophy)
Please Note: The ski information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments.
Copyright © 2021, Canadian Ski Museum. For Personal/Educational use only.
Rhoda & Rhona Wurtele. Canadian Pacific Railway.
The Penguin Ski Club. Photo taken by Rhona Wurtele Gillis. [top row L to R]: Margaret Burden Brunneau, Jean Staniforth Bennett, Joan Tyler, Joey Abbey, Nora Newman, ?, Lorna Meagher Casgrain, Beverly Mace, Claire Fisher [bottom row L to R]: Peggy Orr, Lilly Elder Taylor, Rhoda Wurtele Eaves, Jane Bishop, Nancy Mckean, Dorothy Burden Reid, Joan Erzinger, Barbara Wickes Foster, Barbarra McTaggart & son Donald, Alice Johannsen, Peggy Johannsen, Margaret Russell, Betty Capon c. 1943. CSHFM Collection.
Members of Canada’s Olympic ski team at 1948 St. Moritz Olympic Winter Games [L to R]: Pierre Jalbert, Hector Sutherland, Rhoda Wurtele, Rhona Wurtele, Harvey Clifford, Wilber “Bill” Irwin, Albert “Bert” Irwin. Alpine Canada Alpin.
1948 St. Moritz Olympic Winter Games [L to R]: Rhoda Wurtele, Barbara Ann Scott (figure skater), Rhona Wurtele, Gaby Pleau. CSHFM Collection.
Rhoda & Rhona Wurtele at Sunshine, Banff, AB. – Mt. Assiniboine in background. c. 1946. Canadian Pacific Railway.
Rhoda Wurtele, Lucile Wheeler and Rosemarie Schutz ready for the alpine events at 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo, Norway. CSHFM Collection.
1952 Canadian Olympic Women’s Alpine Ski Team [L to R]: Rosemarie Schutz, Joanne Hewson, Rhoda Wurtele, Lucile Wheeler. Trans Canada Airlines.
1952 Canadian Olympic Women’s Alpine Ski Team [L to R]: Rosemary Schutz, Rhoda Wurtele, Franz Gabl (coach), Joanne Hewson, Lucile Wheeler. Canadian Pacific Railway / B-2401-15.
Bob Gilmour with Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele at 2007 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Valberg Imaging / Andrea Cardin.
Inductee John Eaves and Rhoda Wurtele-Eaves (right) at 1988 Canadian Ski Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. CSHFM Collection.
Documentary - The flying twin sisters : Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele
Rhona and Rhoda Wurtele were Canadian and US Alpine Ski champions in downhill and slalom in the 1940s. Now 87 years old, they are still active and full of energy. This is a short documentary on their passionate and intriguing lives. For more details about them and their adventures, read the book "No limits" that was written recently on their amazing story. Visit www.twinski.com.
Rhona Wurtele says 'Get out and move'
Rhona Wurtele talks about her life on the ski slopes with her twin sister Rhoda. Montreal's Wurtele twins were the most famous women athletes when they were growing up in the 1940s and they remain active today.
The Wurtele Twins reflect on their storied skiing careers | Mountain Lake PBS
Sibling rivalries can often be intense, but Quebecers Rhona and Rhonda Wurtele take it to another level. The twins were pioneers in Canadian women's skiing, competing against one another in many national and international competitions, including the Olympics, during the 1940s and 50s. The twins reflected on their storied skiing careers in a recent interview. Information about the twins biography can be found here: http://www.twinski.com/nolimits.php