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Duluth East, Hawaiian teams have day of winter fun

The Hawaiian Kids -- Draven Ozoa (from left), Dillon Nahooikaika, Kobe Lunasco and Coach Glenn Lee -- enjoy tubing with members of the Duluth East Daredevils. (Staff / BlueDevil Press)1 / 2
Casey Nakamura (from left), Tripp Blaser and Yoshio Yoshizumi from the Hawaiian Kids, Team 359, take to the practice floor and control their robot. (Samuel Kuutti / BlueDevil Press)2 / 2

The average temperature in Hawaii is 70 degrees. In Duluth, it's 10 degrees during an average winter.

This isn't an average winter.

"It felt like my face was freezing off," said Draven Ozoa of robotics Team 359 -- Hawaiian Kids -- from Waialua, Hawaii.

On Tuesday, the Hawaiian Kids joined the Duluth East Daredevils at Spirit Mountain for a night of winter fun. They met in the late afternoon and went around Spirit Mountain's Adventure Park until dark, where they tubed, rode the zip line and went on the Timber Twister.

This was the team's first time in Duluth but not in the mainland U.S. It wasn't the first time that they saw snow, either.

"We went to Utah and Indiana last year. That was our first time seeing snow. But actually, like, we went snowboarding and that was fun," said Megan Andrade, a sophomore on the Hawaiian team.

In Duluth they got to try even more winter activities.

"This was our first time tubing and going down ... the zip line, and the Timber Twister," she said.

That's where Ozoa nearly froze his face off.

"My favorite was the Alpine Slide. It looked fun, but it was really cold at the same time," he said. "I needed more warm (clothing) toward the end of (the) night."

The visitors were surprised to find their hosts calling the temperature "warm" after a week or more below zero.

"Really? Yeah, we got there, then like your team members were ... wearing just a T-shirt, and we're freezing," Andrade said.

Weather isn't the only difference between Hawaii and the rest of the country. Transportation is a concern for teams trying to get their robots off the islands.

"We ship our crate ... in some kind of shipping company, and then we get on a plane and go." freshman Cody Miyataki said.

Hawaii may be geographically isolated but is still connected with the rest of the country online.

"I mean, we can always go on the Internet and look up 'OK, this team has this. This team has this,'?" Miyataki said.

"It's fun to come up here," Miyataki added. "It's different. It's exciting to see different things."

Like the Alpine Slide -- at a balmy 19 degrees.