I think we’d all agree that Hawaii is a dream destination. Sun, sea, beaches jungles and… winter sports?
Wait a second!
Can you snowboard in Hawaii?
You can snowboard in Hawaii, both on the snow-covered peaks of Mauna Kea and the slopes of Mauna Loa. However, access is restricted, and extreme weather conditions make planning and preparation crucial. Other destinations offer far more reliable snowboarding opportunities.
Read on to learn more…
The Peaks of Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Whilst this might not be as famous as the world-renowned resorts of Aspen or Whistler… it can offer a very unique snowboarding experience.
At an elevation of 13,796 feet, Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii. This provides a beautiful snow-covered summit in the winter months.
However, before you pack your snowboard and head to Mauna Kea, there are some things you need to know.
Firstly, access to the summit is restricted. Only authorized vehicles are allowed on the road leading to the peak. You’ll need to obtain a permit and it’s recommended that you join a guided tour.
Additionally, the weather conditions on Mauna Kea can be extreme, with strong winds and low temperatures. Make sure to bring appropriate gear!
Another option for snowboarding in Hawaii is Mauna Loa, another dormant volcano on the Big Island.
Unlike Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa doesn’t have a snow-covered summit, but it has plenty of snow-covered slopes at its higher elevations.
The downside of snowboarding on Mauna Loa (and Hawaii in general) is that the slopes are not groomed. There are also no chairlifts and no real infrastructure.
You’ll need to hike up the slopes on foot or by using a split-board. This is extremely hard work!
If you still decide to try it, I strongly recommend booking a local guide. They’ll help you to navigate the terrain safely.
Are There Ski Lifts in Hawaii?
No, there are no ski lifts in Hawaii. Snowboarding requires ascending on foot, carrying all of your gear. For this reason, I would not recommend snowboarding in Hawaii.
The Best Time to Snowboard in Hawaii
You’re probably wondering, when is the best time to snowboard in Hawaii?
The winter months.
December to February provides the greatest chance of snowfall on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. During these months, temperatures can drop below freezing. This is your best shot!
However, keep in mind that Hawaii is a tropical destination. The weather can be super unpredictable. Even during the winter months, there may be hot or humid days. Not to mention the risk of heavy wind and rain!
Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out.
What To Bring When Snowboarding in Hawaii
If you’re used to snowboarding in colder climates, you may be surprised to learn that you’ll need different gear for snowboarding in Hawaii. Here are some essentials:
- Sunscreen: The Hawaiian sun can be strong, even in the winter months!
- Sunglasses or goggles: The sun reflectS off the snow, so make sure to protect your eyes. These are my favourite budget goggles.
- Light layers: While the temperature may be cold at the summit, it can be warm at the base. Bring light layers that you can easily add or remove.
- Waterproof gear: Snowboarding in Hawaii means dealing with wet snow. Don’t expect the light, dry powder you might find in Japan.
- Hiking boots: If you’re planning to snowboard on Mauna Loa, you’ll need to hike up the slopes. Bring sturdy boots.
Is Snowboarding in Hawaii Worth It?
You’re probably left wondering… is snowboarding in Hawaii even worth it?
Snowboarding in Hawaii is only worthwhile if you live here or are already here on vacation. The slopes are extremely limited and there is no lift system or infrastructure. There are much better options in California and Colorado.
I would also argue that there are much better ways to spend your time in Hawaii. Hawaii offers world-class surfing, food and beaches. Save snowboarding for your winter trips!
To wrap up…
Yes, it is possible to snowboard in Hawaii.
However this requires planning, hiking, and hard work. Considering the extremely limited descent options, snowboarding in Hawaii is therefore not practical for most people.
This makes it more of a novelty or fun fact.
Instead, I’d recommend heading to our snowboarding destinations archive and picking out your next trip. Happy riding!