Ski vs. surf culture

Ski and surf culture align as a result of the laid-back yet passionate culture that fosters stoke and radiates positive vibes.

There are a few distinct parallels between Aspen, Colorado and Hanalei, Kauai due to the cohesion of their respective sports: skiing and surfing.

Both skiing and surfing require impeccable balance, endurance, and athleticism. Skiing takes stamina when skiing moguls, going hard on a powder day, or hiking the bowl for those tasty face shots. Likewise, surfing requires paddling out and ducking under several sets of waves, possibly getting caught in the impact zone, which can be an exhausting endeavor.

Aspen locals love offseason as it allows for a break from the physical collateral damage and emotional exhaustion imparted by tourists. Out-of-state visitors from places like Texas and California tend to anger local citizens with their inability to drive around in the hustle and bustle of on season downtown, lack of respect for the wilderness and wildlife, and lack of understanding of being a respectful and aware pedestrian.

The same behavior can be found in Hawaii, especially a small town like Hanalei. Subsequent to the worldwide shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii opened its state back up to tourism on October 15, about 6 months after the rest of the US opened, giving them their own long “Hawaiian offseason”. When I asked a local business owner if being locked down for so long was detrimental to her business, she responded with “do you want to know a secret? I loved it!”

Aspen and Hanalei are nearly identical concerning the high and possibly unreasonable prices offered by local businesses, shops, and restaurants, profiting off of the pockets of rich visitors. It may not be as prevalent in Hanalei as it is unlike Aspen’s infamous high-end and luxurious atmosphere. However, on a recent trip to Hanalei, my sister and I got excited when we saw some cute tie-dye shirts hanging outside of a local shop, but were immediately driven out when we read the price tags as $50, a price Aspen businesses would likely dub reasonable. On the same token, local businesses may as well profit off the disregard of cost by wealthy visitors.

While these two towns are incredibly diverse in terms of geographical features, location, size, and population, there is an unmistakable resemblance that make Aspen and Hanalei comparable. The sheer beauty and joy of living that permeates them draw people in to enjoy the amazing ski or surf cultures.