Ski + Snowboard

Ski Vacations for Beach Lovers

by Sarah Tuff

Big Island, Hawaii

Chill out: Here's some useful trivia. Technically, the world's highest mountain isn't Everest, it's the Big Island's Mauna Kea—at least when you measure from the dormant volcano's base on the ocean floor. Only 13,796 of its 30,000 feet are above sea level, however, which makes it feasible to climb it, snowboard, and get back to the beach by Mai Tai time. Yes, it is possible to ski or ride Hawaii. Visitors can rent gear for the two-mile-plus runs, and there's even a ski patrol on winter weekends (snow is most likely in February and March). You could drive to the top, too, but then you'd miss out on earning your turns on the real, springlike snow underfoot; it's called "pineapple powder."

Heat things up: Hapuna Beach State Park, about 60 miles from Mauna Kea, on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, is the place the rest of us are dreaming about from our cubicles back home: a half-mile stretch of barefoot-soft sand, fringed by palm trees and lapped by Crest-blue waves. Winter brings decent surf, but the best thing to do here after checking into the adjacent Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is plop down, open a book, and contemplate the fact that this morning you were snowboarding down a volcano.

Ski Hawaii
Tel: 808 885 4188
Snowboard rentals, $50 per day

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
62–100 Mauna Kea Beach Drive
Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Tel: 866 977 4589 (toll-free)
Mountain-view rooms from $300

Next: More tips to heat up your ski trip >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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