It’s snowing in Hawaii. Seriously. The recent big storms passing through have bought plenty of snow with them, as much as 30 inches in some places. However before you swap your surfboard for a snowboard, keep in mind that you would have to travel approximately 11,000 feet to the top of the volcanic peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
While this years snow has been unusually heavy, it’s a little known fact that it does actually snow in the tropical paradise of Hawaii every year. Although it’s generally confined to the summits of the three tallest volcanos across the islands and the snow cover isn’t on the ground for more than a couple of days. The name Mauna Kea actually translates to “white mountain”.
The volcanic peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea are both well over 13,000 feet high and actually classified as an alpine ecosystem. Much of the two volcanoes are covered with a barren alpine desert which features its own unique collection of wildlife. Despite being a volcano, it has its own alpine ecosystem too, with 22 species of vegetation and 12 arthropods that have made the inhospitable habitat their home.
People living below the upper altitude of the volcanic peaks have been experiencing the effects of the weather system that is responsible for all the snow. The Big Island has been under a flash flood watch with storm warnings bringing heavy rain to the area.
It is possible to ski the mountains of Hawaii, but the area is reserved for scientific and spiritual purposes and slopes aren’t maintained. Roads above 9,000 feet are also closed when a heavy dump occurs for visitor safety. The Hawaii ski club also warns potential skiers that there are no lifts, and no resorts. In other words, stick to the beach.
Yes, Hawaii also has a ski club. These magical islands really do have it all.