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Dreaming of a White Christmas? In Hawai‘i?

Posted November 25, 2016, 10:28 AM HST Updated December 13, 2016, 11:06 AM HST

Mauna Kea snowman. March 15, 2015. Image: Chelsea Demello

Mauna Kea snowman. March 15, 2015. Image: Chelsea Demello

Every year at about this time, many locals are laughed at when they say they hope it snows.

Snow in Hawai‘i?

Yes, snow in Hawai‘i… while not in our yards and clogging our streets and highways, we have snow on our beloved mountains that is often described as a coarse “shave ice.”

Between one and two feet of snow fall each year in the mountains above 5,000 feet elevation on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Standing 13,802 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea’s peak is the highest point—not just on Hawai‘i island—but in the entire state.

As lofty and majestic as of Mauna Kea is, its full height is not visible. When measured from its ocean base, Mauna Kea is over 33,000 feet tall, making it the world’s tallest mountain from base to summit.

That makes it taller than Mount Everest at 29,029 feet.

At just 120 feet lower than Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa is considered the largest volcano on our planet, with an estimated volume of approximately 18,000 cubic miles.

It is also interesting to note that while it hasn’t happened in recent history, it has also snowed on Hualālai.


A 1937 photo shows all three mountains covered with a thick blanket of snow that dipped down to the lower elevations of the mountains.

Hualālai is the westernmost, third-youngest and the third most active of the five shield volcanoes that form the island of Hawaiʻi, following Kīlauea and the much larger Mauna Loa.

Many locals are fond of taking their boogie boards and inner tubes up to the mountain tops to ride down the slopes.

Christmas on Mauna Kea, 2008. Photo credit: Crystal Richard

Christmas on Mauna Kea, 2008. Photo credit: Crystal Richard

There are a few people who actually make the trek up to the top with skis and snowboards to enjoy the unique experience of skiing in Hawai‘i.

Many visitors find it odd or funny to see locals with coming down from the mountains with the beds of their trucks filled with snow. They take the snow home and have fun

They take the snow home and have fun building snowmen in their yards or even on the beach, even though they know they won’t last there for very long.

Although it may not be common knowledge, a white Christmas is actually possible and quite often has happened here on the Big Island.

Darde Gamayo
Darde Gamayo wen graduate from Honoka'a High & Intermediate in 1986. Her also known as “Tita Nui,” cause her one tita en her is nui. Her is da winna of da 2009 Ms. Aloha Nui Contess. Which is wat wen help her get her da job on da numba 1 rayjo station on dis island, KAPA Rayjo! Her is da weeken mid day DJ. You can catch her on KAPA from 6 p.m. to midnight Mondayz true Fridayz. Her is one blhog writah fo da BigIslandNow.com. Her write bout all kine stuffez, like how da mongoose wen come hea, wat collah da sand on da beach, pineapple in yo food and wat eva kine stuff her tink of. Her get choken udda stuff her like fo do like, write, read, go fishin' and her love to cook too... And wen you look at her you no she like fo eat, too! Her stay livin in Waipi‘o Valley with her honey, Darren, and the rest of their ‘ohana.

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Glenn Kaiawe Bonnie GillesNovember 25, 2016 03:29pm
Jennifer Sweitzer Go up the hill to Kiluea. It snows all year around up there.November 25, 2016 05:43pm
Sugar Kai Mauna Kea 🤘November 25, 2016 08:54pm
Jacquelyn Paull I have a friend from Wyoming who works up on Mauna Kea and says he has shoveled more snow in Hawaii than he did in Wyoming. :)November 26, 2016 04:03am
Bill Reising I remember going into a store in Kona and being shocked to see snow shovels and tire chains! Wow! The snow boards being carried down the street should have been a hint!November 26, 2016 07:53am
Gary Smith A place for everybody !November 26, 2016 08:37am
Chris Acee I'm ready for it to snow Soo can make a snowman.November 26, 2016 09:15am
Evelyn Redding We had a neighbor on big island that got snow from Mauna Kea for Christmas party 💃November 26, 2016 10:45pm
Mandy Wilson My ex would get go up the mountain to get snow for the kids.... More for him. LolNovember 26, 2016 11:52pm
Evelyn Redding That's cool. When I saw the snow, the neighbor said he had a freezer full of snow 😆November 27, 2016 01:38am
Bonnie Gilles The snow is the fun stuff and beautiful to see . It's the cold , freezing rain . And the driving that sucksNovember 27, 2016 04:09am

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