In the world of skiing and snowboarding, not often does a Mikaela Shiffrin, an Everett Kircher, or a Jake Burton come along, but it’s even more unusual to find an athlete, an industry professional and a broadcaster all rolled into one.
Scott “Scooter” Stillings had an unmatched leadership ability, inspiring skiers for over 50 years as a competitor, a coach, a ski school owner, a sales representative, a ski shop manager, a ski writer, a radio programmer and personality, a director of marketing, as a father and as a friend. His commitment was clear at the age of 13 when he mounted every single pair of bindings for Caberfae Peaks ski rental department. He genuinely began his career as a certified teenage “Shop Rat,” as he put it.
Scott learned to ski in the 5th grade on a pair of JC Higgins Sears Roebuck skis and there was no turning back. He began racing competitively in 1968 in the USSA program and went on to race on the US Ski Team Development Team between 1969 and 1972.
A longtime friend recalled their first meeting, “I met him on a chairlift at Boyne Mountain during a pro event we both happened to be racing in. This was the tour of the early to mid ‘70s with the likes of Killy, Sabich, Penz, Duvillard, and others of that era. I think Scott skipped school that day to race, as he was only 17 or so. It wasn’t hooky, it was dedication!”
From 1972 to 1975 he continued amateur racing and became a full-time ski instructor. During this period, in 1974, Scott became the youngest member of the Ski Patrol at the age of 18. Between 1975 and 1984 he became a professional ski racer for Benson & Hedges, the Eastern Pro Ski Racing Tour, and the Peugeot Pro Tour. He was also the US Ski Team technician in the 1980 Olympics and the 1989 World Cup. From 1975 until his death, Scott was a PSIA Certified Ski Instructor and Ski Coach.
In 1976, Scott Stillings took the position of marketing director for Schuss Mountain, which later led to his position as a ski professional for Boyne USA and Dynastar. Between 1975 and 2019, Scott was a ski representative for Marker, Bolle, A&T, Kneissl, Salomon, Scott poles and boots, Maui & Sons, Rossignol, Dynastar, K2, Hexcell, Blizzard, Technica, Lange, Look Bindings, Kastle & Killer Loop, HaberVision and Berghaus. His clinics were the most informative and entertaining of all the road warriors of his era. Ski shops were always abuzz when they found out “Scooter” was coming to fill them in on his products.
Within the many facets of his career, including PSIA examiner and co-writer of the 1982 Nordic Cross Country Ski Manual, Scott founded Ice Box Productions, which later became Box 9 Productions, and provided ski and snowboarding programming for 18 radio stations throughout the Great Lakes Region for 25 years.
As a skillful media man, Scott was broadcasting informative ski condition updates coupled with hilarious shtick. Skiers and snowboarders across the Great Lakes Region tuned in to hear what he’d come up with next. Who can forget, “I’m Scott, you’re not!”?
On one such report, a longtime listener remembers “[Scott] pretended that his tongue was frozen to his truck’s door handle. It was a reminder of how cold it was that particular day, and a cautionary tale of what could happen if you’re not careful. [In actuality] he was in his kitchen with a tablespoon in his mouth.”
Scott went on to own and direct the Nub’s Nob Winter Sports School, LLC where he provided best-in-class ski and snowboard instruction, in addition to building and running the Nub’s Nob Race Team, which produced hundreds of CUSSA racers, many Junior Olympians, and countless State and Regional champions. Whether you were a first-time skier or a future Olympian, Scott’s passion for the sport permeated through his team of coaches and staff and inspired athletes across the Midwest.
In 2020, Scott completed his ski industry career as the Manager of The Bahnhof Ski Shop in Petoskey, MI. The Bahnhof customers visited the shop to not only purchase the season’s new gear, but in the hopes that they’d get the chance to chat with Scott. If you were lucky, he’d be the one to help you find the perfect pair of skis or fit your kid for their first pair of boots, and they would undoubtedly be the best fitting pair of boots they’d ever own.
There is no doubt that Michigan skiing is better off today due to the ambassadorship of Scott “Scooter” Stillings, who led a life devoted to the sport and the industry he loved so much in Michigan.