What level/type of beginner are you talking about? I think this can make a big difference and general statements can often be wrong for many individuals
Personally, I think Vail can be pretty good for many beginners. Adult never-evers can take a 3 day lift/lesson package that is less expensive than 2 all day lift tickets (which, as you imply, have seen huge inflation over the years and now stand at $175/day). I think the quality of Vail instructors tends to be good overall and it can be really fun for them to go to the top of the mountain and ski some easy greens. The beginner yard at Golden Peak has a nice progressive layout to it (including some carpets just for the kids ski school and others open to everyone), while the Lionshead learning area is up on the mountain with nice moderate terrain (but a bit bigger jump when it comes time to leave that area).
OTOH, Copper has a great Ski University Program for Adult never-evers on appropriate terrain and good segmented green area that offers some nice ways to progress up for kids and adults who can ski easy greens+.. HOWEVER, I think their never-ever kids carpet area in West Village is terrible and wouldn't recommend any1st time kids take a regular group lesson at Copper for this reason alone (along with the high turnover among instructors who usually teach this product).
I think it is also important to factor in other things that people like to do while on vacation and factors that may or may not lead them to return to skiing. i.e. for wealthy people used to good restaurants, places like Vail and Aspen can offer them what they are looking for. There are many people who may like but not love skiing and in many larger families, it is not uncommon to find a member or two who could take it or leave it. When selecting a ski destination, its good if everyone can find something that makes them happy.