I take relatively high number of photos when skiing for sharing on web. I use cheap (~$100-175) point and shoot cameras in non-technical mode and replace every four of five years. In my ignorance one attribute I like better than high image resolution is a modest little camera that can fire-up quickly when I push the power button so I can take shots within a couple seconds without hardly thinking about my subject. This is how I get some of my preferred action shots or impromptu/unposed subjects. I would go to Best Buy, Walmart, etc. and just start examining digital cameras in your price range for one that is small and easy to operate. My camera (mid-range Nikon Coolpix) has a lot of subtle features I never use. Main thing is to switch easily from action to landscape to snow modes. I carry camera all winter and it takes a beating, so I agree with you, don’t want something you can’t afford to fall out of your pocket in the middle of a ten acre black diamond glade (been there/done that):-) I usually don’t review my pictures until the end of the day when I’m back indoors, when something simple as Microsoft office picture manager can cover a multitude of sins. I might get a couple good images from taking about 50-100 per day. Use lithium batteries for much longer life in winter temps. I usually download my photos on a laptop every night or two and start with a clean memory card next day. Remember to put memory card back in camera!
A few examples of photos taken only seconds after camera pulled out of my pocket, later edited with simple MS Office pic manager:
Large groundhog darting across slope at Wintergreen, VA
EpicSki member HotChocolate at Blue Knob, PA
member Freeski919 on Paradise at MRG, VT
member Johnl in glade at Timberline, WV
VinceK at Mt. Bachelor, OR