Badger Cross Country Conditions Update

Stop in and say hi to some of the folks at the Cross Country Ski Center. Lessons and retails available.

Stop in and say hi to some of the folks at the Nordic Center while you rent skis or snowshoes or sign up for a cross country ski lesson.

The Nordic Center at Badger Pass is open, so I grabbed my skate ski gear and headed up for a quick look-see before work. Given the warm temperatures, I was concerned about the conditions. I can be a real snow snob sometimes. However, the snow conditions were actually much better than I expected, and I had a fun little ski.

The cut-across from the parking area to the Glacier Point Road is pretty inelegant right now. I didn’t even bother putting my skis on until I’d walked out to the road, though the pair in front of me tried. It’s hardly an inspiring start, and I began to second guess my intentions, but then I got down to the road, and the promise of gliding over the snow kicked in and I was off.

Looking up the hill to Summit Meadow

Looking up the hill to Summit Meadow

The snow on the road is also thin, with bare patches in places, but in conditions like this I often think back to the time someone reminded me that you only ski on the top inch of snow anyway. Being a good skier, I had no problem at all avoiding the bare patches until Summit Meadow where the sun hasn’t been good to our snowpack. Generally speaking, the snow has a late spring feel – hard and a bit choppy in the morning, but heading up the hill to Summit Meadow I was surprised to find some really good snow underfoot too, firm but soft, perfect skating if you could string together a few miles of it. Hooray! I was skiing! That, combined with sunshine, and being outside in Yosemite, breathing in the fresh air made it all worthwhile.

Watch out for bare patches along the trail.

Watch out for bare patches along the trail.

I met a few other hardy souls who were on the road as well. Two women with big backpacks were headed out to the Ostrander Ski Hut on telemark ski gear, another person taking a tour on her classic striding skis, and two different groups who planned to snowshoe out to Dewey Point. We talked about the conditions, and I realized that even if they had to take the snow-play gear off their feet, they were headed off to some amazing spots – beautiful even in the summer when there isn’t a lick of snow.

Don't be afraid to take off your skis or snowshoes and walk. Yosemite is as beautiful as ever.

Don’t be afraid to take off your skis or snowshoes and walk. Yosemite is as beautiful as ever.

When I got back to the Nordic Center, I was greeted with giggles and peals of laughter from some people trying cross country skiing out for the first time, and Rick was getting ready to give a beginner lesson. That’s one of the things I love about the people who visit Yosemite in winter. Flexible and good-natured, they bring fun with them wherever they go.

By Theresa, Online Marketing Manager for DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite

Long Time Dinner Companion: Delaware North at Yosemite Employee Martha Miller

When you live and work in Yosemite National Park, you can learn many kinds of jobs, such as park ranger, ice rink attendant, tour bus driver, and restaurant manager. If you are Martha Miller living and working in Yosemite for the better part of 60 years, you start out as a teenaged ski instructor at Badger Pass Ski Area, move on to general manager of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, and round out your career as a coordinator for holiday dining and events at The Ahwahnee. As a concession employee for the last six decades, Martha has served park visitors in these roles and many more (including Manager of the Quarter in 2004), making her the longest of the long-term employees at Yosemite National Park. Though a passion for the park is required to live here as long as she has, Martha also has passion for other things in life, including her horses and another career as an opera production manager. In between Yosemite seasonal gigs, Martha led a double life of worldly sophistication as production manager or touring company manager for various opera companies including the San Francisco Spring Opera (where she began as a volunteer in 1961), Fresno Opera and the English National Opera. She had studied music in school and later toured the world in this capacity, but returned to Yosemite year after year. From her humble beginnings as a teen at Badger Pass, Martha also went on to become one of the first female Professional Certified Ski Instructors.

Martha Miller on a ski trip near Tioga Pass in Yosemite.

Martha Miller on a ski trip near Tioga Pass in Yosemite.

Today, summers find Martha in Tuolumne Meadows and winters find her employing her extensive production background at The Ahwahnee as a special events coordinator. Specifically, Martha assists with the Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite production, an historic holiday dinner event with musical entertainment that has been hosted in the hotel’s dining room since it opened in 1927. Martha has participated in Bracebridge Dinner in various roles, even being trained for duty by Ansel Adams, famed Yosemite photographer and an early producer of the event. She also coordinates the holiday activities surrounding the production for hotel guests and park visitors during the holiday season. Martha’s favorite thing about working Bracebridge Dinner is getting to know the performers. When asked her favorite thing about working in Yosemite, Martha said, “I love hiking and skiing, but no way I can say one job or the other – they are all special.”


Martha Miller at The Ahwahnee’s Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite.