Can You Ski in Hawaii?

You can technically ski in Hawaii if enough snow falls on the highest mountains, but it isn’t very common, and there are no ski resorts. You need to be there at the right time of year and get lucky for there to be any snow at all.

My name is Christine, and skiing is one of my biggest passions. I love to go to the mountains as often as possible and live for the winter. I’ve done some research and spoken with a few friends who have tried to ski in Hawaii. 

This post will examine if you can ski in Hawaii. I’ll provide you with the details of making this happen if you want to try to get some turns in while visiting a tropical paradise. I’ll also give you some other important information to keep in mind. 

Let’s jump in. 

Key Takeaways

  • It is technically possible to ski in Hawaii, but it’s pretty tricky to do. There is no reliable snowfall on the highest mountains, and when it snows enough to ski, you need a way to get there. 
  • There are no ski resorts or rental shops in Hawaii, so you need to be prepared with your own equipment and find a way to travel to the mountains where you can ski. 
  • The mountains in Hawaii are considered sacred to the native Hawaiians, and skiing down them can be regarded as culturally inappropriate. Keep that in mind if you are considering skiing here. 

Can You Ski in Hawaii? 

Hawaii is the most isolated island chain on earth, and its tropical shores sit in the middle of the Pacific ocean. It’s one of the most coveted vacation destinations because of amazing beaches and excellent weather – so it doesn’t sound like a skiing spot, does it?

One cool fact about Hawaii is that it is home to a large diversity of microclimates. This means you can experience all sorts of weather and temperatures when you visit here, including the possibility of snow. 

The highest mountains in Hawaii are on Hawai’i island, also known as Big Island. Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are both over 13,000 feet above sea level, which is pretty high. When the weather is right, these mountains can get hit with snow. 

If enough snow falls on these peaks, it is possible to ski or snowboard down them. But there are no ski resorts or other amenities to help you get to the top, so you’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle even to consider it. 

Another thing to know is that a snowstorm in Hawaii is pretty mild compared to other parts of the world. Six inches of snow would be pretty significant here, and the islands only get more than that on rare occasions, making skiing pretty rare as well. 

Since it’s so difficult to predict when snow might fall in these mountains, it’s really not worth planning a ski trip to Hawaii. If you are there when it snows and have your skis, you are lucky and can go for it. But it’s only possible a few days of the year. 

One important thing to keep in mind if you are considering skiing in Hawaii is that both of the mountains where skiing is possible are considered sacred by Native Hawaiians. Skiing or snowboarding on them can be culturally insensitive

While no rules prevent you from skiing down them, it’s frowned upon by some of the locals because the mountains are spiritually significant. I recommend looking into this more in-depth if you want to ski here. 


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to if you can ski in Hawaii. 

Are there ski resorts in Hawaii? 

No, there are not any ski resorts in Hawaii. Although it is possible to ski on the highest mountain when it snows, you’ll need to get up there on your own. There also isn’t anywhere to rent skis, so you need to have your own equipment as well. 

What islands can you ski in Hawaii? 

Most of the skiing in Hawaii is on Hawai’i island, which is also known as Big Island. This island features the two tallest mountains in the island chain – Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Both of these are over 13,000 feet and can get hit with snow. 

How often can you ski in Hawaii? 

The opportunity to ski in Hawaii is pretty rare. Even the tallest peaks only get a few snowstorms a year. So there might only be a few days a year when you can ski. Some years, it doesn’t snow at all.  

Final Thoughts

Although skiing in Hawaii is technically possible, it’s not common at all. The highest mountains only get a few snowstorms a year, typically only resulting in six inches or less of snow. That’s enough to ski, but is it really worth it? 

Because the conditions are not very ideal and the fact that skiing on the mountains can be considered culturally inappropriate, it might be better to enjoy the waves and water if you visit rather than hope for snow. 

Have you ever been to Hawaii? Did you know that it can snow there? Let me know in the comments below.

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