Escape artist | Ski director helped put trails across the valley
Well, nah, they don't really. But they should. As a founder of the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association and "president of its board, forever" (he says with a slight groan), Don Portman ...
Northwest Weekend editor
Northwest Travel Guides
They call him "Mr. Methow."
Well, nah, they don't really. But they should.
As a founder of the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association and "president of its board, forever" (he says with a slight groan), Don Portman deserves an avalanche of credit for molding the Methow as a place oriented to wholesome outdoor sports.
And he never stops. He was on "Good Morning, America" just last month bragging about how much oxygen you'll breathe in his valley.
As owner of Methow Valley Ski School, which has the ski shop at Sun Mountain Lodge, Portman plays a big role in the good time you'll have there. Formerly a physical-education teacher in Seattle, Portman, now 59, came to the Methow in 1976 and never looked back — not in envy, anyway.
"From Seattle, I'd take people out skiing and we'd go out and wallow in the deep snow — what's the fun of that! ... Here, you can immerse yourself in this winter wonderland where snow comes and it stays."
A former member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America Nordic Demonstration Team, which sets the standards for U.S. cross-country ski instruction, he still skis at least an hour daily in the snow season.
"First and foremost, it makes me really happy. You go out there and get endorphins and it makes me feel fit. And I get to ski in this beautiful setting. I've been here for 30 years and I'm still amazed."
Oh, and the oxygen? The Methow, where the valley floor is about 2,000 feet, literally has more oxygen than if you go skiing at Colorado's heights. So, the workout is easier for Puget Sounders who come from near sea level.
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