The Adrenalist

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Skiing in Hawaii? Tame The Mauna Kea Volcano



Backcountry Skiing in Hawaii? Yes, you heard that right.

They don’t call Hawaii’s tallest peak, the 14,000-foot Mauna Kea, the “White Mountain” for nothing. The upper reaches of this volcano are glaciated with ice many thousands of years old. It gets dusted with fresh powder, too, which provides a unique adventure for the kind of Adrenalist who feels torn between his loves for remote tropical islands and backcountry skiing or snowboarding.

In good conditions, two-mile runs are possible from the million-year-old Mauna Kea’s upper reaches. The volcano is dormant, meaning the quiet beneath its surface can be broken anytime by an eruption, but luckily for skiers and boarders, it has been between 4,000 and 6,000 years since it last blew its top. The sharp lava rocks strewn about the slopes are a more imminent danger.

Need some convincing? You can descend from 14,000 feet to sea level, passing through three distinct eco-zones, and dip your toes in the Pacific. Your experience will be one few knew existed, and fewer have tried.

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