Snow skiing on Mauna Kea gives cool thrill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Snow skiing on Mauna Kea gives cool thrill

Kevin Reed Kevin Reed
Isaac Warsh Isaac Warsh

By Diane Ako bio | email

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (KHNL) - While winter storms in the Islands usually mean a lot of rain and wind for most of us, a good storm on Hawaii Island means fresh snow! A trip up to the summit of Mauna Kea goes from lunar landscape to winter wonderland.

That's where we met local snowboarder Kevin Reed and his friend Sam, who was visiting from DC. Kevin described snow conditions on this day as "fantastic. The sun softens it up." Sam added, "It was a little icy in the morning." Reed clarified, "It's soft and powdery now."

This is where Hawaii skiers like me come to play. A recent storm dumped on the mountain and you can see the whole hill is covered in the white stuff! Snowboarders also enjoy the mountain.

Reed declared, "It's the best snowboarding in the world! Look where you are. There's the telescopes nearby, and nobody's here."

But this is Hawaii and there is definitely an island feel, as boogie boards double as sleds. While some may take this sport lying down, it is not for the faint of heart. Check this out. See the two guys on boogie boards at the top? They're heading down the mountain without any way to maneuver- at top speed!

Hilo resident Isaac Warsh was one of them. "It was scary fast. I put my hands down to slow down. My gloves start getting hot from the friction, uncomfortably hot! And I'm getting scared that I'm not going to be able to stop because I'm heading towards the pile of rocks, so I had to pump it with my fists so I could go left and not slam into the rocks."

It's a wild ride! Warsh stood up off the board and announced with a groan, "Oh, man, I got snow in my jacket, down my pants!"

After a few runs, I gave sledding a try, but because there is no way to steer, I hit a pole. Luckily I was going super slow. "Skiing has a lot more control," agreed Warsh.

And what's a trip to the snow without a good snowball fight? The perfect packed powder is good for throwing snowballs at people!

A day at Mauna Kea: maybe it's not the best skiing in the world, but it's definitely the coolest thing in the islands!

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