Imagine skiing or snowboarding down the summit of a mountain then 20 minutes later lying out on a beautiful tropical beach in paradise. One of the only places you can do that in the world happens to be right here in Hawaii on the Big Island. Never mind Hawaii is only about a 1000 miles away from the earths equator every year Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, gets dumped on with winter-like conditions. During the winter months residents and visitors make the trek up Mauna Kea to ski and snowboard one of the most unique places in the world.
Mauna Kea is Hawaiian for “white mountain” and is right smack in the middle of the Big Island. If measured from the bottom of the ocean all the way to the peak, the elevation would be higher than Mt. Everest. From the summit stretching all the way from the shoreline, Mauna Kea stands at 13,796 ft tall. My annual trip to Tahoe this winter was no dice, so with a little bit of improvising I hopped on a plane from Honolulu and flew over to Mauna Kea. Luckily my Big Island friends have a 4-wheel drive truck so driving up the access road was a piece of cake. As I strapped into my board and gazed down the trail, I started to feel like I was on top of the world. No lift, no ski pass, no gondola, no resort, no hot chocolate, just pure back country on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The ride down was short and sweet with packed powder conditions and little to no crowds. Though we only did one run, due to lack of oxygen, we felt like we hit a milestone in our lives as one of our greatest accomplishments. With all the dangers involved in this activity, I recommend riding Mauna Kea for experts only. We lucked out not getting hit by a storm and safely making it down. Big Island is so magnificent in its beauty and wonder and there is so much to see. Mauna Kea is sacred to Hawaii and has the best sites in the world for astronomical observation with 13 observation facilities from 11 different countries. Discover Hawaii Tours offers a Big Island Tour from all islands, and as Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea will be hard to miss. On a clear day, you can get a perfect view of the snow capped mountain at the Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo. Take a picture post it on your facebook page and I bet all your friends will ask “Are you in China? Are you in Chile? Dude where is this!?” Nope just on tour at one of Hawaii’s outstanding sites on the Big Island.