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Can you really snow ski in Hawaii?

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


My friend told me it is possible to go snow skiing in Hawaii. That can’t be true, can it?

Dubious in Virginia


Aloha Dubious,

When people think of snow skiing, Hawaii may not be the first destination that pops into their heads. But, if tropical snow skiing is your bag, then Hawaii is the right place.

People do snowboard and snow ski on Mauna Kea (Hawaiian for white mountain) on the Big Island of Hawaii. There are no ski lifts to take you up the mountain, which is over 13,500 feet high, so you must rent a 4WD vehicle or hire a guide. Skiers take turns being the driver up a road that also serves several observatories at the summit.

Snow falls during winter months, though the ski season can run from November through July, and the snow can accumulate to a few meters depth. February and March are the best bets for good snow. This has been called the finest snow in the world, and there is a ski-able area of almost 100 square miles.

At the summit, you have an incomparable, unforgettable 360 degree view – Mauna Kea’s moonscape terrain, the lush tropical vegetation below, and the surrounding ocean. As an extra, in the distance you see Maui’s Haleakala crater.

Snow skiing in Hawaii is unlike skiing anywhere else in the world, plus, how many places do you know where you can go snowboarding in the morning and scuba diving in the afternoon? So get with your shredheads and launch some gnarly tweakage.


Big Kahuna