My first reply on this site, and i hope it helps...I think the best thing you can do is to determine how much terrain is being skied off-piste, like groomers or hard pack, woods, powder etc. Growing up in Stowe i also skied in the rain, dedicated...that way i had no surprises when hauling a** through a soft spot in the snowmaking zone at high speeds. Not used to that or wet snow? Face-plant. Injuries. The East coast has tons of ice scattered throughout trails. The rental departments have simple questions pertaining to your ability, weight, and height, foot size. It is crucial to have the right SIZED skis and the D.I.N. setting set to your ability. So for example, if you weigh 135 to 150 lbs, and are a beginner, you'll be in the 5 to 7 range, meaning for your weight and ability, the ski will come off before it injures/twists the knees or pelvis. In perspective, i grew up racing and averaged 120+ days a year, and also later competed in freestyle. My D.I.N setting is always at an 11 or higher. With my skis on, i can swing the ski in the air and sharply drive the tip of it into the snow and with the right amount of strength, will snap the ski off. That way i know how much force it will take at that setting, and that means holding a turn through crappy snow-ice at 60+ MPH without them "pre-releasing". This was very easy to see while racing, the high force of torsional flex of the ski, and vibration puts an incredible amount of force on the only things holding you to your skis. The higher your strength, and the faster you ski, on multiple terrains all are integral to the settings on the bindings
Get a medium stiffness all-mountain ski, in a manageable length (which you'll have to determine through Demo's). Too soft of a ski and youre going to be catching edges. Too stiff of a ski, at your ability, will have the same or more instances of catching an edge. If you are having the skis tuned prior to skiing make sure the edges are dulled at the tip and tails of the skis. Super sharp is not really necessary in deep snow or medium to deep snow. The sharpness is determined by the icy-ness of the trail, or the race course requires sharpness. A sharp edge is primarily for holding up on a trail or course that has a lot of ice.
Boots: If youre a beginner or partially intermediate, the cant or forward lean on the boot will be more upright than an expert boot that has a canting that is far more aggresively forward, with narrower widths. I grew up in race boots, they were always tight, even after forming, still super tight. Which means super accurate control of the ski and turn. A roomy boot with little support is really bad, but is too common with demo boots in a rental store. Sore shins? = leaning back too far because of lack of proper forward lean. Toes and heels getting smashed? too much room in the boot. Protrusion on feet (ankle bones etc) thats just unbearable? Get them orthotically fitted, or get a heat mold at the shop for the shell of the boot. Your socks cant be bunched up at the top of the boot, there should be nothing but sock from toe to top of boot.
If youre only skiing once in a while, and have huge gaps in between the skiing days, it is extremely difficult to get better at it and will take a long time unless youre really coordinated and are very in shape and flexible. Some people pick it up in a couple days, which also depends on your age and body style. Some people never progress. How many ski-days in a year do you get? Like anything in life, if you are driven to achieve something that you really want, you find ways to really make it happen. So, to sum it all up- training before you ski will make you learn that much faster, because youll have the strength to go that much further, and ski harder at trying to be better. Even if your not skiing every day, stay in shape as much as possible. More importantly-probably the MOST important factor- spend time skiing with people that are far better than your ability. I've seen couples in their mid 90's- skiing gingerly down the mountain... settings, fitness and muscle memory are everything in skiing.....
Good luck, and dont give it up !