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.
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.”