Q&A: Brendan Gouin ’05 of the Yawgoons

Brendan Gouin '05 is part of the Yawgoons, a creative and resourceful group of snowboarders based at RI's Yawgoog Valley Ski Area.
Brendan Gouin ’05 is part of the Yawgoons, a creative and resourceful group of snowboarders based at RI’s Yawgoo Valley Ski Area. Photo by Erik Hoffman.


More about the Yawgoons in our story, Snowboarding in Real Life: The Yawgoons.

How/when did you get into snowboarding? What do you like about it?

I began snowboarding when I was in 8th grade at Yawgoo Valley. I found snowboarding to be very fun. I liked how fast you could go and how it felt more like surfing than skiing did. It’s important to have fun activities to do during the cold northeast winters, and snowboarding was a perfect winter pastime for me and my friends.

Did you spend much time at Yawgoo during your student days? Was its proximity to campus a selling point in your decision to come to URI?

I did snowboard a lot while I was attending URI and I was involved in the Snowboard Club. (Editor’s note: clubs and student organizations change from year to year depending on interest and support; currently, snowboarders can race as part of URI’s Alpine Racing Team.) Yawgoo is 5 minutes from URI and I would go often for quick sessions after class and during weekends and school breaks. I was raised in Southern RI not far from Yawgoo and I was familiar with its proximity to URI before enrolling, but the proximity didn’t factor into my decision to attend. Although, my freshman year, when winter hit, I discovered how great it was to have it right down the road! I do not think there is another university with a ski area so close. Several schools ,like UVM and UNH are high on the list for ski/snowboard enthusiasts, but the nearest mountains to those schools are a 30-minute drive or more. Some places, like Middlebury, have their own ski area, but not on the campus. URI has Yawgoo 2 miles away. 

What do you like about Yawgoo?

I like that Yawgoo has powerful snowmaking capacity that allows for great skiing and snowboarding conditions even when there is a lack of natural snow. I also like that they have a rope tow lift that brings you uphill fast, allowing for many runs in a short time. I think Yawgoo is an amazing place for people to learn skiing and snowboarding. It’s also a great place for beginners to perfect their skills or dial in new equipment and for experts to come hang out and have a blast.

How did the Yawgoons get started?

The Yawgoons started in 2010 when my friends and I entered a short video into a contest called the Crew Clash. The idea was that we needed a name for our small crew and we came up with Yawgoons. We ended up winning the contest two years in a row and have been making short snowboarding videos since.

How do you describe the Yawgoons and what you guys are all about? 

We are a group of friends who share Yawgoo as our home ski area. We share a passion for snowboarding and have fun filming and showcasing creative and different ways to snowboard.

What are you doing in Austria?

We are in Austria thanks to our snowboard sponsor, Capita.  Their board manufacturing facility is here and we are filming on the private on-site snowboard area called the moonshot facility. 

–By Todd McLeish