There are a ton of good bike shops in town. Four Mountain Sports is owned by the SkiCO, they offers competitive prices and convenience.
Both of you can get the perfect summer package and then you can upgrade to the downhill bike.
Take your wife up on the bus and let her coast back down.
Snowmass also offers a 2 1/2 hour $49 Downhill Clinic. Most of the time, you'll be the only one and privates are $99/hour.
Ride your XC bike out to Snowmass and you can checkout some of the XC stuff. Then ride Tom Blake or Government back to town.
Town will be fairly busy on weekends, but it's not mobbed. If you drive up via Independence Pass, traffic won't really be an issue.