Yawgoo Valley open for business, no thanks to Mother Nature

EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — Mother Nature has provided Southern New England with chillier temperatures as of late, but not much in terms of snow – though that hasn’t stopped a popular ski and snowboarding destination from opening for business.

The winter so far hasn’t been the easiest for Yawgoo Valley in Exeter, with uneven temperatures resulting in inconsistent openings of the slopes. However, the latest drop in temperatures has allowed for Yawgoo Valley in Exeter to create their own snow so patrons can get their winter sports fix.

“This cold snap of course has provided us with some good snowmaking weather, so we’re happy,” said general manager Pati Dewardener.

The slopes were open in the earlier weeks of December, but business has slowed since the state started to feel that temporary warm-up a few weeks ago. There isn’t an official start for the skiing season in Rhode Island – Dewardener said it’s all dependent on the weather.

When Yawgoo Valley can’t rely on natural snow they make fake flakes, but doing so doesn’t come cheap. Not only does it run up electricity costs, but also the cost of the manpower needed to spread it across their hills. Plus, the warmer it gets – the easier it is for that money to simply melt away.

“There’s no normal with Mother Nature, you know, it’s whatever she says,” added Dewardener.

Workers at Yawgoo spread the snow late at night into the early morning so that the grounds are fresh for the next day’s runs. They utilize nearly 20 machines to make the snow and blow it over their runs.

“Machine-made snow lasts on average four times longer than natural snow, just because of its makeup,” Dewardener explained.

Dewardener also said there are more skiing and snowboarding runs to open on their hill, so they’re hoping the cooler temperatures will stick around for a while.

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