Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last Resort No.1 - Hawaii


I’ve snowboarded in many places around the world over the years, so I figured that I would put my knowledge use and write a handy resort guide. Here it is:
All resorts are pretty much the same. You get similar stodgy food, they are all similarly mountainous and the force of gravity appears to be a constant. The single thing that has a real effect how different the experience will be is how good the snow is when you are there.
So that’s it, if you get lucky and get good snow you’ll have good time no matter where you are, bosh.
There are however some places that really aren’t snowboarding resorts, they are either too small, too remote, too warm or too embroiled in warfare to really make them a popular destination. Despite their limitations they are worth knowing about, because if you ever happen to be in the area, then they would definitely be worth a try just for the blag. So for the first article of our new series Last Resort we look at snowboarding in Hawaii...

When I first searched for Hawaiian snow I found this:

Hawaiian Snow

'Its a super-sticky strain, with a great hazy smell and taste.
It took 1st prize in the 2003 High Times Cannabis cup, and boasts a monster THC content and yield.'

So at least in one aspect Hawaii caters for your standard snowboarding stereotype. But this wasn’t what I was looking for.
Then I found Snow in Hawaii, but again the wrong sort

I did eventually manage to find that there is snow in Hawaii

and apparently they love it...

Maybe a little too much

In the end the best source of information I found was the Hawaii Ski Club. This is a group of skiers and snowboarders who dedicate their time getting the hell out of Hawaii to go snowboarding, which shows why this is definitely a Last Resort destination. However they also have some information on snowboarding on home turf on their website which is one of the last bastions of the use of the Comic Sans font.

To save you wading through the eye-rape that is Comic Sans here is the jist of what they have to say…

Skiing or snowboarding on the top of the volcano is a very "iffy" situation. For example, there was a brief "dusting" of snow on the mountain top this week, but access to it was restricted due to high winds. So even with snow, no one could ski/snowboard there. Add 13,000 ft altitude with limited oxygen and there aren't many (if ANY) EXTREME skiers or snowboarders who take the plunge. Plus the snow cover is rather small so in previous years those who skied or snowboarded fast went quickly from snow cover to lava rock and ended up being medivaced to a hospital with massive injuries!!!!’

Is it just me or are they making it sound really cool even though they are trying to warn us off this idea? It’s so extreme that even EXTREME skiers/snowboarders are too soft to give it a go. Only pussies get helicopter rides up mountains, real men go to Hawaii where they catch flights down the mountain while trying to hold their intestines in.

This is how you catch a ride in a helicopter in Hawaii

here are no lifts or runs, so skiers also need to hire a 4-wheel drive vehicle with driver who will drive skiers to the top to mountain, then pick them up at the bottom of the run, return to the top, etc. A full day of skiing the volcano can be 2 to 3 runs!!!!

Actually that sounds quite convenient. I’m sure you can get more runs in if you had a quicker driver. Seeing that the flights and 4x4 hire is going to cost so much already why not go the extra mile and bring a Turkish taxi driver with you? He’d get you up the mountain like its Pike’s Peak.

‘Skiers need to provide their own equipment for skiing over the lava rocks since a day of skiing the volcano destroys a pair of skis!!!’

Sounds like a snowboarder friendly mountain if it specifically just eats skis.
Hawaiians love exclamation marks!!!!

Mauna Kea (Hawaiian for 'white mountain') is a 13,796' (4205 meter) volcanic mountain whose summit sometimes gets a skiable/boardable mantle of snow. Conditions at the top are extremely variable. Winter temperatures range from 25 to 40 degrees F (-4 to 4 C), but wind chill and the high altitude can make it seem much colder.’
That would be normal snowboarding temperatures then. I guess they are making this sound scary just to make sure someone doesn’t give it a go in Speedos. You have to say these sorts of things in the US just to prevent litigation.

Here's the quality trail map.

Seems like a simple map until you try and figure out how the compass works.

So after all the dire warnings should you try snowboarding in Hawaii they leave us a jolly note and a fun side story
‘Anyway, good luck and we hope Hawaii gets a big dump of powder while you're in the islands!’
‘If you'd like to try cross country skiing without the snow and cold, check out what Olympic medalist and World Cup overall champion Bill Koch has been up to on Maui and Molokai.’

I’m only leaving that last bit in because that guy’s name is Willy Koch

If you need a bad website like the Hawaii Ski Club just ask Dr. John – Computer guru and you too can get your very own time capsule of 90’s web design

Hawaiian Tropic snowboarding..

Incidentally Rod Collins' site is a strange compendium of pictures of women’s arses
and the categorization of all of the churches in
I would not recommend a visit.

With the mountain being 4,200 meters high 20% of you will suffer from altitude sickness. To continue the theme of warnings here’s some information from the Institute of Astronomy in Hawaii
‘Avoid Gas-Producing Foods
Foods such as beans, onions, and cabbage may cause intestinal gas to expand, resulting in flatulence, bowel distension, and even pain at high altitudes.’
That pretty much cancels out all food you can buy in the US then.

‘Do Not Scuba Dive before Ascent
If you scuba dive below 50 feet within 12 hours of ascent, you risk formation of nitrogen bubbles in your joints and brain, a dangerous condition known as "the bends".’
Not sure why the inverted comas. Are they suggesting that the bends is an imaginary problem? If they are why bother giving us a warning in the first place?

This is an especially dangerous combination of sports in Hawaii

Headaches and Impaired Mental Abilities
At high altitudes, your blood vessels dilate to increase the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain. You should still be alert for other effects of decreased oxygen: impaired decision making, memory, and mathematical ability.’
Now I’m guessing this affect might be what accounts for Airblaster coming out with this Hawaiian inspired design for the 2009/10 season. It has removable arms and legs so that you can turn something that is legendarily crap into something that is legendarily crap and useless.
I imagine that Willy Koch is going to go nuts for this.

So that enough warnings of impending doom, what’s it actually like? Well there’s this beauty featuring Sir Edmund Hillary and a whole lot of bad snowboarding. I had to steal the video off the site so apologies for the music.

Doesn’t look quite so scary after all, if these guys can survive.
The one good thing about this video is that they credited the music. So now I know that I can avoid the rest of Virgos Merlot's back catalogue.

Then there are these two guys who snowboard down the road. I think they might be special needs because they spend the whole of their low speed decent making weird ape noises and using a primitive sign language. Maybe this is what it is like to experience the impaired metal ability you get when you are suffering from altitude sickness. This guy got it bad.

I think I actually made him fall over just by willing it.

So there you go, snowboarding in Hawaii does exist.

Hawaii - Reasons it’s a Last Resort
  • No lifts, no hire shops, not even a handy toilet.
  • The local snowboarders appear to be sex starved and retarded.
  • At 4,200m it’s well into altitude sickness territory, where you can look forward to suffering from the bends, bad gas and bad math.
  • And if you are going to Hawaii lets face it you are really only going there to go surfing, have a honeymoon or to bomb the US Pacific Fleet.

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