Ask Bret, and he’ll tell you he has the best job in town. Few would disagree. Although Bret makes his job look easy, being the consummate pro at maximizing fun requires both skill and experience. Bret came to Sun Mountain Lodge 26 years ago after earning his BA degree in Recreation Management from Eastern Washington University. As our Activities Shop manager, Bret is credited with developing our entire activities program and putting together a team of experts equally skilled in the art of making vacations memorable. Bret’s talent as a manager is matched by an impressive resume of athletic credentials. Skiing since the age of 3, Bret has risen to the elite level of his sport in both Alpine and Nordic skiing, coaches the Alpine Ski Team at Loup Loup Ski Bowl, and holds the title of Chief Examiner for regional Nordic Ski Instructors through the prestigious Professional Ski Instructors of America.
Contact Bret: 509.996.4735 EMAIL
Owner, Methow Valley Ski School
Don Portman is renowned for making the Methow Valley ski trail system the biggest and best in the country. After the North Cascades Highway opened in 1976, Don was hired to run the ski shop at Sun Mountain Lodge. He was paid to rent skis, teach skiing, and groom trails. Don’s vision for skiing in the Methow quickly outgrew his job description and before long he bought the shop, expanded the Sun Mountain trail system and groomed it singlehandedly using the proceeds from his ski shop.
Don’s vision for the Methow Valley was to establish a groomed, inter-connected ski trail system that spanned the entire Valley, the first of its kind in North America. In 1980, Don worked to establish the Methow Valley Ski Touring Association (now the Methow Valley Sport Trail Association). In his 30 years as President of MVSTA, Don led the charge to establish an unprecedented partnership between public and private landowners, thus creating the largest ski trail system in the country. Today MVSTA is a thriving non-profit that has expanded its mission to develop and promote year-round recreation in the Methow Valley.
Dedicated to the sport of Nordic skiing, Don has been a ski certification examiner for over 35 years, and served for 8 years on the Professional Ski Instructor’s of America Demonstration Team. He has been widely recognized by his peers for his contributions to the cross country ski industry, and served as Editor at Large for Ski-Trax magazine for many years.
As owner/operator of the Sun Mountain Lodge Ski Shop, Don has assembled an elite team of ski instructors dedicated to sharing their passion for teaching Nordic skiing to young and old alike.
Contact Don: 509.996.4375 EMAIL
KEVIN VAN BUEREN
Owner, North Cascades Fly Fishing, Assistant Activities Director
Kevin has worked at Sun Mountain Lodge since 1990, after earning his degree in Recreation Management from Eastern Washington University. In addition to working with Bret to create fun activities for the whole family, Kevin is also our resident fly fishing expert. In the late 90’s Kevin established his own guiding business, North Cascades Fly Fishing. He has been a fly fishing guide for over 20 years, including two seasons in Patagonia. A certified Level III Nordic ski instructor through the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Kevin is also one of the most sought-after instructors in the Valley, coaching as well at various ski clinics throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Contact Kevin: 800.572.093 ext. 735 EMAIL