A video that appeared online that shows people skiing and snowboarding over dry land on the slopes of Maunakea in Hawaii has been described as disrespectful and damaging to the environment.

Maunakea is a dormant volcano with its peak is 4,207 m above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Most of the mountain is under water, and when measured from its oceanic base, Maunakea is the tallest mountain in the world measuring over 10,000m.

The top of the mountain is often snow-capped in winter and can be skied, although there are no lifts.  Official policy is that people are allowed to ski or board on the snow, but not to ski, board or engage in other sports on the land when there’s no snow.   

Stephanie Nagata, director of The Office of Maunakea Management (Kahu Ku Mauna) told the local Hawaii Tribune Herald newspaper says it was “very disturbed” by the videos, which have now been removed from Youtube.

“First and foremost, this act was disrespectful to Native Hawaiians and to everyone who considers the mountain sacred.”

The Office of Maunakea Management said that the activity took place on the south side of the pu‘u, hidden from view from rangers.

One of the first acts by Kahu Ku Mauna in 2001 shortly after its creation was to stop vehicular access traffic on the pu‘u because it is a sacred site. The skiing and boarding took place on the south side of the pu‘u, hidden from view from rangers.

Stephanie Nagata also said the activity could damage the local environment.

Coincidentally it is currently being decided whether The Office of Maunakea Management is should be given the power to fine people who break rules on land usage on Maunakea. A decision is expected this spring.