Yawgoo Valley Ski Getaways
Strike up a conversation on a lift at a northern New England resort with someone who turns out to be from Rhode Island, and chances are good he or she first learned to turn at Yawgoo Valley.
The state'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 half 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 four feet of snow a season (considerably more during the winter of 2002-2003) 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.
While many of the visitor comments about Yawgoo make note of the hill's lack of vertical (175 feet) 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' " another), 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 place works hard to make sure they keep coming back.