New England Heritage: Yawgoo Valley

By. Jim Crooks With the first sizable snowfall of the season yesterday here in Southern New England, I was reminded that ski season is upon...

New England Heritage: Yawgoo Valley


By. Jim Crooks

With the first sizable snowfall of the season yesterday here in Southern New England, I was reminded that ski season is upon us once again. And if you grew up in Rhode Island like I did, then you probably have some memory of bombing down the slopes of Yawgoo Valley as a kid, using the "tow rope" to pull yourself back up the hill, and then capping off a perfect day with some hot chocolate in the lounge. For me, it was just sledding and not skiing because my Peace Corps parents thought it would be funny to have my sister and I ski uphill instead of downhill. Yup, we were cross-country skiers...good times...but I digress. Today, there are many reasons to love Yawgoo Valley, not the least of which is the fact that the lodge sells Narragansett Beer, and the following review from agrees:

Rhode Island’s sole surviving ski area (there have been as many as five) Yawgoo thrives in part as a teaching hill. The ski school is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors Association East, has a staff of 70, and has taught many a Rhode Island novice the joys of sliding on snow. A large rental inventory belies the hill’s size but gives an indication of Yawgoo’s forte. A big tubing park and a terrain park and pipe (helmets are mandatory for the park and pipe) bolsters an active teaching schedule and race series. Of course, the lights come up when the sun goes down and the action keeps going until 10:00 p.m. most nights. Two double chairs and two surface lifts serve twelve trails for all abilities. The longest run is a respectable 2200 feet. Yawgoo averages a modest four feet of snow a season but that hardly matters: A powerful snowmaking system, ready to take advantage of favorable conditions at a moment’s notice, can cover 100% of the terrain. Between runs (or lessons) relax in the full-service base lodge, which also features a sit-down restaurant. There you’ll find the parents sipping on Gansetts while the children learn their turns on the slopes. While many of the visitor comments about Yawgoo make note of the hill’s lack of vertical (175’) they are just as likely to praise Yawgoo’s major assets: proximity ("it’s the closest area to Rhode Island" noted one writer, perhaps with tongue in cheek), beginner-friendly terrain ("great place for noobs" says another writer), and low cost compared to big areas up north. Others praise it as a good place to get in a quick skiing "fix" or as a place to tune up your skills before heading "up north" to a destination resort. Whatever the reason people go to Yawgoo, the staff works hard to make sure the people keep coming back. So, take a few runs down the slopes of Yawgoo this winter and don’t forget to warm yourself up with some Gansetts afterwards neighbors! To learn more visit

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