To have fun skiing and make it a lifelong sport is every ski-parent’s dream for their kid. Twelve-year-old Jackson Syron, of Spokane, has only been skiing for two full seasons so far, but he has quickly progressed. “You would never know he hasn’t been skiing his whole life,” says his mom, Tiffany Syron, who learned to ski when she was 8 years old.

It was the 5th Grade Ski Free Passport program, offered by Ski the Northwest Rockies, that got the whole Syron family of 5 skiing. “We chose to wait until everyone could enjoy going and not complain. Our kids were ages 9, 6, and 4 that season we all started,” says Syron. Jackson took a few private lessons that season and received guidance from a family friend who was a trained instructor. With that special 5th Grade Passport incentive, Jackson qualified for a season pass after his third visit to Mt. Spokane (with a $40 processing fee). This deal, combined with the free child lift tickets for his younger siblings (because they were age 6 and under), made it more affordable to get the entire Syron family on the slopes that winter.

Jackson at Mt. Spokane // Photo: Tiffany Syron

The following ski season, Jackson completed Mt. Spokane’s Kids Club 6-week lesson program. With more and more days on skis, he kept improving and getting stronger. His snowboarding uncle Mitch Bozo took him to other local ski destinations, including 49° North and Silver Mountain, where he could experience and learn from different terrain. Jackson says everything about skiing is fun, and his mom appreciates all the quiet “think time” that the mountain environment provides. His favorite runs at Mt. Spokane are Skid Row, the terrain parks on Half Hitch and Lamonga Pass, and the still-unnamed run #3 off chair 6.

“Skiing, although fun, is something that’s earned, too, so it helps encourage him to keep up with schoolwork and maintain good behavior…He just loves it and will keep it up as long as he can,” says Syron. “Last season, Jackson was one of the older kiddos in his ski class and was complimented on his leadership and for helping other kids on the mountain.”

Jackson’s 13th birthday is in February 2020, and he’d like to join Mt. Spokane’s Cadet program. Designed for experienced skiers ages 13-17, Cadets learn and practice ski-teaching skills, assist ski instructors with young lesson-groups, and improve their own all-mountain skills in the process. And Jackson can share his advice with younger skiers: “Keep trying. You are going to crash no matter what, so make it fun!”