#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “Y” is for YAWGOO


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

The only remaining ski ‘resort’ in Rhode Island is located in Exeter. It opened in the 1965-66 season as “Rhode Island’s first chairlift ski area.” (Other ski areas relied on tow ropes or T-bars). Developer Richard Downs acquired property around Yorker Hill (295 ft.) and began cutting ski trails.

Because of its location, Yawgoo relies mainly on artificial snowmaking. It also has a snow tubing park available with eight lanes.

The early 1970s saw difficult days at Yawgoo Valley. The 1971-72 season had minimal December skiing and 1972-73 only had 58 days of operation, the majority of which were considered bad.

In an effort to develop a summer business, Downs and his partner Steven Ellis constructed a skateboard park in the spring of 1976. By the summer of 1977, an estimated 10,000 skateboarders had visited the park. Now there is a water park, consisting of two water slides, a kiddie pool and a regular pool.