I couldn't have afforded to ski earlier in my life. Certainly not while DD was playing hockey! Nor those college years . . .
There are some inexpensive options, though, aren't there? Small mountains with reasonable prices? Ski clubs? A local club-operated ski area's most expensive lift ticket is $44, and if you ski on Friday or in the evening, much less. Season pass $369. (Blandford, MA) I believe the snowmaking is quite limited or nonexistent, so a season's pass would be a gamble.
At nearby Otis Ridge, an even smaller mountain, $40 on weekends and $20 on weekdays.
And of course, Berkshire East, the no-crowds, good choice of terrain mountain an hour from home. ~$665 season pass, if I remember correctly. Bring your own lunch. No need to rent a locker; pile your stuff in the lodge like everybody else.
I personally couldn't learn on borrowed equipment; I need all the help I can get, so I bought decent boots and all of the layers, rented skis for the season. But better athletes might be able to begin on borrowed or used equipment - many do.
Of course these ski areas don't give the same experience as huge, varied, expensive resorts. But one can learn, and ski every weekend, if one of these smaller hills is near enough.