Converting hair into editable poly is going to be costly on performance, it will be next to impossible to convert it from edit poly to anything useful. Each hair will be a cylinder/spline The only thing I can see working would be to use some other program that allows you to build low poly geometry off extremely high ploy meshes, even then it might interpet it wrong.
I played around with the idea of converting each hair to a metaball and then merging them all using the particle system but max would crash even on very low hair settings.
If you're aim is to make some simple opacity planes then that is easy to set up
the hair system to do.