Stab Magazine | Ian Walsh snowboarding in... Hawaii
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Ian Walsh snowboarding in… Hawaii

Did you know it snows in Hawaii? It does! Some mountain tops were recently dusted, and since it’s such a rarity, Ian Walsh couldn’t help getting at it… “It was a last minute trip for me,” Ian told Stab. “I wanted to get on the snow really bad, but the snow in the west part […]

full frame // Mar 8, 2016
Words by Ehitu Keeling
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you know it snows in Hawaii? It does! Some mountain tops were recently dusted, and since it’s such a rarity, Ian Walsh couldn’t help getting at it…

“It was a last minute trip for me,” Ian told Stab. “I wanted to get on the snow really bad, but the snow in the west part of America has been really, really average in most places, so I’ve just kept at my ocean activities. After flying to LA with my snow gear, with plans to go after a few meetings there, I ended up coming home because nowhere really looked to be getting any fresh snow other than the 80,000 inches on the east coast. Feeling a little defeated that I didn’t get into the bindings yet this winter, I saw a message from Ehitu (Keeling) about possibly riding on the big island. I knew there was a ton of rain and cold weather (for Hawaii), so I put together a last-second day drip. Onto the first flight from Maui to the big island then straight up onto the road and into the snow gear once we broke some serious altitude. Hiking at 13,000 feet or so really drains you so after a full day or hiking around and having my mind blown that Hawaii could have snow that fun, it was straight back to the airport and off to Maui for a late dinner.”

Ehitu Keeling, who fired off this frame of Ian, fills us in on the snow activity up there: “The conditions have to be pretty much perfect. There’s an observatory up there, so the rangers say if the roads are open or closed. The mountain’s name is Mauna Kea, and it stands 13,700 feet above the ocean. The air up there is really thin, and there are no lifts on the mountain so you have to hike to wherever you want to snowboard. It’s also rare that we get this much snow, but the El Nino season has been producing enough rain and storms to come our way. The snow doesn’t last too long so when it’s there, you have to get it. It’s not like the states where the snow will last weeks – ours lasts days. We really scored this day, there were no clouds or variable winds, so it was all-time and about six feet of snow in some areas. There are no open fields there, it’s all lava rock and cinder lava. There are mountains of cinder that create all the slopes for us to hike up and snowboard down, and wind banks that you could hit, cause most of the time the wind up at the peak is really strong.”

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