We at NYSEF are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bill “Wittso” Witte, a long-time friend of skiing and ski racing in the area and beyond. Those who knew him can attest to his life-long passion for the sport and the energy and time he dedicated to helping others reach their dreams.

Please support future athletes in the name of Wittso by sending a check to NYSEF, PO Box 300, Wilmington, NY 12997 (please note “Bill Witte Scholarship Fund” on the check) or by visiting our DONATE NOW page to make a secure online contribution through PayPal.

Check our Scholarship Page for more information on our scholarship funds.


Obituary of William Witte

Mr. William R. “Wittso” Witte, age 83, of Lake Placid passed away on Monday, 30th 2015. Born in West Orange, New Jersey, on January 28th, 1932, William was the son of the late Charles and Ruth (Romyns) Witte.

He received his education after high school when his parents allowed him to hitchhike the existing 48 states. He accomplished this by the age of 19 and sent a weekly postcard home. It was a troubling time as the family had lost his older brother Norman of the 10th Mtn. Division, during the war in Italy.

William decided not to join the family business his father started in Newark, New Jersey manufacturing wristwatch pieces. Much to his father’s disappointment he headed to the mountains of Vermont. Bromley Mountain was the start of his “Ski Bum” career as an instructor by day and dishwasher by night. He loved every minute of it.

Next stop was Snow Ridge Ski Area, Turin NY. He was recruited as a top notch ski instructor along with Rudi Kuersteiner and Otto Frei. William was enjoying this town and opened his own “Swiss Ski Shop” and a motel.

To offset the frequent two foot dumps of snow and some well below zero temps, William’s summers were spent on Upper Saranac Lake managing the waterfront and teaching water skiing at the Wawbeek resort.

Opportunities arose and William was offered a job with Sport Obermeyer taking him back to Vermont and running the Eastern warehouse in Killington.


After a stint of importing very expensive bicycles in Vermont ended, his true calling as an independent sales rep for upstate NY and Western PA began. He notably represented and or pioneered over 10 companies including K-2, Smartwool, Turtle Fur, Smith Sport Optics, Crocs, YakTrax, 1st Team, Hard Corp skiwear, Giro Helmets, Ibex, and Horny Toad.

Wittso was a mentor to many in the ski world. He counseled countless sales reps, shop owners and skiers by sharing his passion for the sport. His relationships with customers and fellow reps were the oil that kept his wheels spinning. He is one of the founding fathers of EWSRA (Eastern Winter Sport Reps Association) which allows those in the ski industry to do their business in a professional trade show setting.

William is survived by his wife Cheley; one son Douglas of Boston, Massachusetts; two step sons Adrian Cieri and companion Sarah Keyes of Lake Placid, New York and Bear Cieri and wife Kate of Williston, Vermont. His survivors also include his two grandchildren Olivia and Griffin Cieri, his mother-in-law, Dorothy Modliszewski, two brothers-in-law Robert Modliszewski, Richard and wife Donna Modliszewski, his sister-in-law June and husband Alan Belmont, several nieces and nephews and many close friends.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the AMC Lake Placid staff, the Volunteer Ambulance Service and the amazing EMTs for giving such caring treatment to William.

Please join with us on New Year’s Day, 2016 at 2:00PM to celebrate this wonderful man:

Nicola’s on Main

2617 Main Street

Lake Placid, NY

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to New York Ski Education Foundation (NYSEF):

PO Box 300

Wilmington, NY 12997

Please Note: The Bill Witte Scholarship Fund