The good, the bad and the defunct...
What a fun thread!
As I post this, I am forced to recall that I never skied more than 4 days per season until I was 29, and that some areas are forever lost in my foggy memory.
The earliest I can remember is a place called Sheltered Valley, in Wisconsin. I can no longer find any reference to it, so if it's still in business, it may have a different name. I thought it was quite large, but back then, I was quite small. I vaguely remember a rope tow which sometimes lifted me entirely off the ground.
When I was a senior in high school, I finally had a chance to visit my father's family in Vermont. My uncle got me my first season pass, which, as I stated above, I only used for a few days, but it was so cheap that it cost less than 4 lift tickets. It was for a ski area in Northfield run by Norwich University. It is now also defunct, I believe, which suggests my visits are not a good thing for the long term health of any ski area.
I was living in Michigan by this time, so I was also able to visit (very occasionally) Mt. Brighton, Caberfae, Mt. Holly and a number of others in Michigan. When I went there, Mt. Brighton (in southern Michigan) didn't have anything like the massive 230 vertical feet
it has today, but it was growing. They employed bulldozers to make it a little higher each summer. They now have 17 lifts, apparently, but from what I remember, I can't imagine where they put them.
Caberfae (near Cadillac, Michigan) is still with us, sort of, as Caberfae Peaks. I seem to recall rumors of the entire resort being moved to a slightly different location under new ownership sometime back, so I'm not sure of the history or the relationship between where I skied and the current ski area.
When I moved to Colorado, and actually started skiing every week, the place was Berthoud Pass, another defunct ski area - defunct that is, to everyone except dedicated skiers who earn their turns. Back then, it had two lifts, both of them ancient. Despite the limited facilities, it had serious terrain and serious snow. I didn't really know how to deal with either one, but it was a great place to start.