Snowboarding in Real Life: The Yawgoons

Dylan Gamache ’14 at Yawgoo Valley. Photo by Andrew Fisher, Pharm.D. ’10

Rhode Island probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think about skiing and snowboarding, but we do have this little mountain—OK, maybe more of a hill—just 10 minutes from the Kingston Campus, and it’s gained a little notoriety thanks to one local group of snowboarders—the Yawgoons.

The group, consisting of alumni Brendan Gouin ’05 and Dylan Gamache ’14, along with Marcus Rand, Mary Rand, and Jason Skorupski, is changing the landscape of snowboarding with creativity, resourcefulness, finesse, and a revolutionary spirit.

Dylan Gamache gets creative, using a transformer box on the URI campus for a backside tailslide. Photo by Sam Cornwall.

The Yawgoons’ approach to snowboarding is something more akin to that of the DIY movement in skateboarding, which is characterized by an artistic spirit and making or finding creative places to ride, play, and develop new tricks. In his January 2016 New York Times story about the Yawgoons, Matt Ruby wrote, “In a sport where bigger, higher, longer, and more spinning and flipping define the boundaries, the Yawgoons get creative. They use the natural terrain (rocks, trees, grass) as well as the unnatural (buildings, snowcats, pipes) to construct landscapes with one I’ve-never-seen-that-before feature after another. Then they shoot video of their runs and let the snowboarding world watch in awe.”

Besides catching the attention of the New York Times, the Yawgoons have also been noticed by Snowboard Magazine. In addition, their videos (shot by Gouin—aka Dr. B.—a local dentist) have millions of views, and they have thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram.

—Barbara Caron