You know, there is a simple solution to the problem: indoor ski slopes.
When I first moved here and went to one, I thought they were scary as hell (full of people who had no clue what they were doing). But, I soon saw the brilliance in them. You can put them in population centers that are far from the mountains, which means that people who don't live near the mountains can learn or practice without taking days off work and investing huge amounts of money. They can drive over on the weekend, ski for a couple of hours, grab a bite to eat, do some shopping, and then drive home. Also, the costs are lower because equipment rental and lift tickets are for short periods of time rather than entire days (be honest, how many beginners can make it through an entire day of skiing without discomfort, let alone several days in a row). On top of that, the conditions are controlled, so there are no blizzards, high winds, or extreme cold, and they can run year round.
In the end, for most people skiing is something they would do while on vacation, which means giving up other potential options (going to the beach, going to Disneyland, etc.). If they're not good at skiing, they won't enjoy it enough to choose it again over all the other options. But, if they are able to learn with regular lessons in their local area, then their first trip to a real resort will be far more enjoyable and they'll get hooked. Anytime people around here ask me about skiing, I always tell them to learn at the indoor slopes so that they'll be able to fully enjoy the experience once they go on a proper ski trip.
I usually go for a couple of hours once a month with a buddy of mine in the off season. It only costs about £30 (roughly $50) for two hours, and that includes both the equipment rental and the lift ticket.