Video of skiers, snowboarders on Mauna Kea sparks outrage
The area where the skiers were is the highest point on the mountain, and considered sacred to Native Hawaiians.
A post to the Red Bull Instagram account, @RedBullSnow, features skiers and a snowboarder in Red Bull gear, cruising down Mauna Kea.
The video has been removed, but not before it caught the eye of the Hawaiian community and sparked outrage.
"We condemn and denounce the actions of these individuals," said Hawaii State Senator Jarrett KeohOKalole.
Members of the Hawaiian Caucus at the legislature, trustees at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and others came together at the State Capitol Wednesday to express their outrage over the clip. They call the act "disrespectful," and "selfish."
Sen. Keohokalole pointed to other stunts that have taken place on Mauna Kea, but said one difference here is the extreme athletes are not cruising on snow.
"The difference between snow and not having snow on the mountain is there are burials on Mauna Kea," he said.
The Big Island mountain is also the location of other anthropological sites and endemic species.
It's not just the skiers and their sponsors the trustees and lawmakers are upset with.
The land atop Mauna Kea falls under the jurisdiction of the University of Hawaii's Office of Maunakea Management. For years, OHA and other groups battled OMKM over its management abilities and they're using this as a call for change.
"Wake up and smell the roses, or pua keni keni," said OHA Chair Colette Machado. "This cannot continue because if you're going to manage the mauna, do a good job on it."
The Office of Mauna Kea Management released a statement calling the whole act "disrespectful."
“First and foremost, this act was disrespectful to Native Hawaiians and to everyone who considers the mountain sacred,” said Stephanie Nagata, Director of UH Hilo’s Office of Maunakea Management.
OMKM is investigating what happened, although UH officials say no laws were actually broken.
The athletes were reportedly on a part of the mountain out of sight of on-duty rangers, they defaced and scarred a geological formation and may have damaged a Wekiu bug habitat but according to administrative rules, OMKM cannot issue fines at this time.
"What we don't want is for people all over the world to view videos like this and to think that this is ok," said State Senator Kai Kahele.
Red Bull tells KITV4 it was not their project. They did not provide further details