These are all great posts. I think there's also a spinoff thread brewing here: "I wouldn't be a skier if it weren't for..." Lots of people seem to have a key person who got them started and a story behind it.
For me, it was my family's friend, Dr. Bob, who's also the father of my childhood best friend and his younger brother (Epic: Jellyroll; he skied with me at White Grizzly a couple years ago: http://www.epicski.com/t/102538/prickly-gives-up-his-stash).
Bob learned to ski in Europe after the war and has been a regular at St. Anton ever since. Stateside, he became a Mad River devotee, and dragged our family along one winter 40 years ago. I've been hooked ever since.
Through the years, Dr. Bob has sworn by three hills: MRG in the East, Snowbird in the West (where I ski--bummed for a season, sleeping on his sons' floor) and St. Anton here in Europe. I've been trying to prove him wrong for years, sampling all kinds of other areas, but you know what? He's got it about right.
Bob, an orthopedic surgeon, also got me hooked on ski racing through Nastar, an affliction which eventually provided him with some extra work after a big crash in a GS at Blackcomb in Jan. 1987. I've skied with Dr. Bob and his younger son at St. Anton a couple times in recent years and though he's not much of a skier anymore, Bob is the best guide to St. Anton you could hope for.