Perhaps people who are reading this thread would also be interested in which places to avoid.
So I created this thread ... http://www.epicski.com/t/146475/which-resorts-are-the-least-awesome-for-beginners
Welcome to Epic, there are a lot of us here who don't have to travel as far as you for snow. Glad you are enjoying yourself. All the areas mentioned are good but let me put another factor into the equation.
Good, long beginner runs that are not crowded. Here in the PNW probably the best beginner area is at Schweitzer, own chair, never crowded, pretty long and a great place to learn your stuff.
2nd in the PNW is Lookout Mt. you can go to top and ski the backside or frontswide on a 100% beginner run.
You could fly into Spokane and go from there. I know you probably won't but thats the way it is in skiville. Spend a minute on the web, chech the prices etc. and I guarantee you will get a lot more quality skiing in that some crowded $10.00 hamburger joint.
And if you do come let me know, ask questions and I will be happy to show you the hill.
I've wondered about Schweitzer myself. How late does the season last? Also, how is the snow/grooming, etc.
They close up after Eastrer or Spring Break. Good to Excell grooming.
Welcome to EpicSki.
Interestingly, it's kind of hard for advanced skiers to answer this question. Especially skiers who have been skilled for a long time. We just don't see a slope the same way someone from your perspective might. All green circle runs seem easy, even though some mix in blue pitches we tend to overlook. . . . Supposed to be a lot at Big Sky too, but I've never been.
I've skied Big Sky a fair amount, and would agree it's got a very good progression of greens from the base area. Flat area with magic carpet for true beginners. Another one with a bit more pitch just up the hill, and then a couple of long groomed greens, which are flat with a couple of slightly steeper, but very short pitches as you work up. Once you're past that there are greens elsewhere on the mountain that step it up a bit more.
The one shortcoming IMO is Andesite Mountain, which has some really nice long greens on the back side (from the main base) off the southern comfort lift, but the only way back to the main base is either a rather steep green (that arguably could be blue) or a cat track.
In Colorado, my vote for easiest green terrain has to go to Breckenridge. Most of the lower mountain consists of massive green runs about as wide as a football field with a very consistent, mellow pitch. Good if you're looking for the easiest possible terrain, but I can see it getting old, even for a true beginner.
In terms of extent and quality of easily accessible green terrain (e.g. easy to find without catwalking all over the place), I'd give it to Copper, followed by Keystone.
Beaver Creek Lodge looks like a good place for getting together an extended family for a few days. Some family members might like the idea that snowmobiling is required for a winter reservation made well in advance.
"Because we specialize in snowmobile packages, room reservations from December 1 - March 31 must include snowmobile rentals, unless the reservation is made within 30 days of the arrival date."
My guess is that there are other beginners and parents with the same question who may be interested. If not now, in the fall when more people will start planning family ski trips.
Just going to second some of the above opinions re: areas I am familiar with. In the Northeast Bretton Woods and Okemo are good places for beginners. Mid-Atlantic: Jack Frost, Big Boulder (not open weekdays, only night skiing during the week) and Bear Creek - all in PA.
Colorado: Beaver Creek has a great learners area and you can now ride down from there so you don't need to take the Cinch cat track (it can be a real chore), Schoolmarm and another one the name of which escapes me at Keystone are great runs (my wife loves them), and Breck (but can be crowded as mentioned). Keystone also has some long and fun blue rollers for when you want to try upping your game a bit.
Salt Lake City area: both Park City and Canyons (now just Park City) have plenty of reasonably gentle greens.
Just thought I'd mention that beginners often "cease to stand up" rather than "fall" when intimidation hits. As you go, just gently try to stretch your comfort zone a bit and keep standing a bit longer than you want to ;) (I was also a later in life beginner so am familiar with your issue on a personal level and work a lot with a family member who is a trained instructor and loves to introduce people to skiing - which is where the realization about "ceasing to stand up" rather than "falling" came from).
Happened to come across a blog entry written by an advanced beginner who spent a few days at Solitude and Deer Valley this season. The focus of the blog is on food, not outdoor activities. From the write up, pretty clear that the change in ownership has upped the level of food available at Solitude. In any case, she had good things to say about lodging at both places and both ski schools. Definitely enjoyed the day skiing greens and easy blues at Deer Valley.
Another story of a beginner at Deer Valley. The wife is a blogger for Deer Valley and wrote a couple of articles about his experience in a lesson. The couple moved to Park City a few years ago. The husband started learning to ski . . . at age 65 . . . in 2013. He has a granddaughter he wanted to ski with, who was three at the time.
http://blog.deervalley.com/?p=4170 - March 2013
http://blog.deervalley.com/?p=9225 - Jan 2016