Ski Rhode Island? Yeah, they got that, specifically at Yawgoo Valley in Exeter. The tiny little hill that could has been the go-to – and only – ski area in a state where once there were three. And after last week's storm, there is plenty of snow on the ground, making for great conditions.
Yawgoo Valley, which came to life in 1955, has a top elevation of 310 feet, with 36 acres of skiable area and the longest running topping out at a decent 2,200 feet. There are two chairlifts and a rope tow, and the newest addition to Yawgoo is one of its most popular: The Snow Tubing Park is a huge hit with kids and families, where $15 gets you unlimited slides down the hill for 50 minutes at a time.
The tubing park is open Friday through Sunday all winter with extra hours added on holidays and school vacation weeks, weather permitting. Kids of all ages love bombing down seven perfectly carved lanes and zipping back up on tow ropes to do it all over again. The attraction is so popular, Yawgoo officials strongly advise buying tickets online as in-person purchases are first-come, first-served, and you don’t want to be left out in the literal cold.
As hot as tubing is in the winter chill, skiing was what created Yawgoo Valley and remains a big draw, with 14 trails and the entire hill serviced by snowmaking, guaranteeing complete snow coverage when the temperature dips to freezing. It’s a great place to learn as well, as Yawgoo offers just about everything a larger ski resort does, including a myriad of learn-to-ski packages for kids and adults, deals to save money, and equipment rentals.
Make no mistake, Yawgoo is small by skiing standards, and if you’re an expert, you won’t be challenged, though it’s a great place to stretch your legs if you’ve been off the slopes for awhile. But if you’re starting out, it’s a wonderful, inexpensive and very friendly place to learn.
Yawgoo Valley is uniquely Rhode Island, close, cozy, comfortable and small, standing alone and proud in the geologic shadow of New England’s behemoth mountains to the north but proud of what it is: The only – and therefore the best skiing the state has to offer.