In my neck of the woods, I think Loveland does the most to make it more affordable for new skiers including the following:
3-Class Pass for Adults
Beginner Adults: "NEW THIS SEASON!"
The 3-Class Pass for adult beginners is now available for Pre-Purchase! The Pre-Purchased Package includes 1 Newcommer and two Master the Mountain lesson packages. Start out with the All-Day Newcomer lesson and at the end of your first day you recieve a "Loveland Valley Only" pass good at Chair 7 and Chair 3. Now you have time to practice what you've learned untill your ready for your next lesson. Upon completion of your third lesson you recieve a full, unrestricted Loveland Season Pass! Lesson packages include lesson, all day lift ticket and equipment rental. Walk in customers can also participate in this pre-purcase program. Or use the pay as you go option,without the "Loveland Valley Only" pass.
PRE-PURCHASE PRICE - $285
3-Class Pass For Kids
All children (ages 4-14) regardless of ability, who complete 3 full day lesson packages, receive a FREEUNRESTRICTED season pass to keep practicing their skiing or snowboarding skills for the rest of the season.
Children's full day lesson packages include lesson, lift ticket, rentals (ski or snowboard) and lunch. Full day lessons are from 10am through 3:30pm daily. Register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am.
Pre-purchase price: $297 for ages 6-14 skiers & snowboarders
$327 for ages 4-5 skiers
(4-5 yr old program includes early drop off begining at 8:15am)
What does your mountain do?
I think you are missing the point. I'm not saying I can't afford it. As I mention over and over, with the current season pass situation in Colorado, skiing in cheaper now than it has ever been in my lifetime. I can certainly justify it, even with my not terribly affluent/solidly middle class income.
My concern, which some in this thread seem to be missing, is that the costs for a first timer, the costs have never been higher, and that does not bode well for skiers entering the sport, which seems to be supported by the demographics.
The last 20 years of skiing have been noted by a mad crush to consolidate and expand. I think that already becomes dicey when American demographics in general point to a decline in people that are even physically able to participate in active sports like skiing- we face a social security crisis because the American birth rate has slowed, so there are less working age folks to support the now-retiring boomers.
I would expect this to hurt resort profits over the next 10-20 years. God bless the retirement age folks than can still tear up mountains, but they are the minority. As America continues to age, there are less people capable of skiing.
I would think the correct long-term view on this would be to do EVERYTHING to make the sport accessible to new skiers, knowing that the industry needs them to not collapse in 10/20 years.
But I don't see that. I see ski area pricing adding a barrier to entry rather than encouragement.