Best Places to Ski/Snowboard in Hawaii

By October 8, 2018

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This tropical paradise with year round sunshine it might not be the first place you think of when it comes to skiing and snowboarding.

You would be right, Hawaii doesn’t get much snow and isn’t the place to head for skiing and snowboarding.

However, Hawaii does have a mountain or to be more precise a volcanic mountain. Called Mauna Kea (Hawaiian for ‘white mountain’) it stands at 13,796′ (4205 meter) tall.

The summit sometimes does get a skiable covering of snow – it happens roughly every 5 years.

So little in fact, there are no lifts, grooming or resorts. There is a road which gets you to the summit, which also serves  dozen or so world callas observatories.

Its highly recommend you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get you to summit, actually its essential, which will serve as your lift to the top – its also recommended you have a nice friend that will do the driving – but this can be done yourself if needed.

Usually thought it’s a bit more relaxed, skiers take turns being the driver, who picks up the other skiers at the bottom of the runs and ferries them up to the summit.

Its technically the “worlds highest mountain” as it base starts at -19,000 feet so offers you chance to ski the world’s highest mountain.

When it does snow, it covers around 100 square miles of ski able terrain and the locals say the snow is like sugar corn and is known as ‘Pineapple Powder”.

This isn’t an area for beginners or anyone not in good physical condition. It’s a lot like skiing in the wilderness – there are none of the facilities you might find at traditional resorts across the US.

Hawaii Big Island Mauna Kea summit snow


The weather is extremely variable, in the winter the temperatures range from 25 to 40 degrees F (-4 to 4 C), but wind chill and the high altitude can make it seem much colder.

Between April and November the weather is milder, with daytime temperatures varying from 30 to 60 degrees F (0 to 15 C).

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