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Lahaina resident to spread aloha spirit on Maui Ski Bus tour

By Staff | Oct 27, 2011

Steve Fisher and his dogs, Franklin and Gykaiya, hope to visit 100 ski resorts from November to April.

LAHAINA – Lahaina resident Steve Fisher and his two dogs will soon set out on a snowy adventure with an ambitious goal: travel by bus to ski 100 different resorts in the Western United States and Canada.

He hopes to ski 20,000 vertical feet per resort for a total of 2 million (379 miles).

Fisher will ship the custom bus to Los Angeles soon and begin the Maui Ski Bus tour at Mammoth Mountain, California, around Nov. 20.

“I have lived on Maui since 1983 with a sailing/beach bum lifestyle and decided that I wanted to experience a tropical ski bum lifestyle,” Fisher explained.

At each stop, Fisher, a triathlete who has competed in each XTERRA contest, will promote the aloha spirit and encourage children to live an active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet through “Meatless Mondays” and “Soda-less Saturdays.”

Steve Fisher and his dogs, Franklin and Gykaiya, hope to visit 100 ski resorts from November to April.

“Franklin, the world’s strongest Dachshund mix, will play soccer with children along the way, and Gykaiya – named after Gypsy and Kai, my deceased dogs that hold a Guinness World Record for their swim from Lanai to Maui – will have tug-o-war challenges along the way,” he added.

Fisher also owns a certificate from Guinness World Records for crossing the Pacific from California to Hawaii on “Da Slipper II,” an 18-foot-long custom sailboard, in 1997. He covered 2,500 miles in 47 days to set a U.S. record.

After his Pacific crossing, Fisher was inducted into The Explorers Club out of New York City in March 1999.

Displayed prominently on the bus, his website, www.mauiskibus.com, will feature daily blogs, photos and videos. His journey will also be documented on social media.

The trip will be funded through local and national sponsors, including Maui Magazine, Moffett Properties, Mala Ocean Tavern, Fischer Skis and Monkeypod Kitchen Wailea.

“Currently, mauiskibus.com has over 60 individual sponsors that love this idea and donated $25. I have a goal of 500 for individual sponsors and believe that many on the Mainland will love this idea and want their children’s name on mauiskibus.com,” he explained.

“The Maui United Way and the Livestrong Cancer Foundation will each receive 10 percent of the total sponsorship income.”

Fisher, 51, started working on the bus in May, painting it bright yellow and adding island touches, such as the tail of a surfboard poking out of the back.

He insulated the inside to be a winterized camper and added emergency equipment, spare parts, tools, a heater, stove and good stereo. Snow tires will be added when the bus arrives in Los Angeles.

The Maui Ski Bus tour won’t be entirely new to Fisher.

“I spent three weeks at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid in a camper van and drove across the U.S.A. in the same van from Michigan to California and back in the early ’80s,” he said.

Fisher plans to spend a day or so at each resort. He’ll be gone from mid-November until the end of April.

After Mammoth, the rough plan is to visit Lake Tahoe at Thanksgiving, Vail at Christmas, Park City for the Sundance Film Festival, Aspen for the Winter X-Games, Sun Valley at Valentine’s Day, Whistler for Spring Break and Lake Tahoe for Easter.

“Other resort areas will be in between, and the weather conditions will be taken into consideration,” he added.

Fisher is confident a bright bus with a Maui theme will garner attention at the ski resorts in wintertime.

“Maui is magical, and a bright yellow bus that says ‘ALOHA’ on it will attract millions and millions of people’s attention as we drive from resort to resort,” he said.

“I am sure that the print and TV media will want to know more when I get to the Mainland next month.”

In June, Fisher traveled to New York and had Meredith Vieira, special correspondent for NBC News and former “Today” show co-anchor, sign a $1,000 donation to the American Red Cross from MauiSkiBus.com. It was also signed by three of four hosts on “Good Morning America.”