OK, since I was (some would say I still am) a "beginner" for a VERY long time, I'll play.
I don't live anywhere that would be considered "ski country" so I never had a local ski shop to rent from. If you have that, great. We did find, however, that we generally got better prices and higher quality equipment if we rented on the way in rather than at the mountain. This is not always true but it is the way to bet unless you know a mountain has good stuff at good prices. If you are going to an area with multiple ski areas there will be places to rent from on the way in. If you are headed somewhere with one lonely mountain you may not find a rental place on the way in. Either way you'll be skiing soon ;)
Re: "don't leave your boots in the car/put them near the heat vents on the drive" is a BIG tip. The main reason, however, is not a matter of keeping your tender tootsies warm when you first climb into the boots, it is so the boots themselves (they are made mostly of plastic after all) are flexible and as large as they will be that day. It is ease of entry that matters most. Notice how difficult they are to remove when frozen after skiing for hours. In the matter of getting boots on to start the day, I heard a tip I haven't tried but it makes sense. The tip is to get women's "foot" nylons (sorry, don't know what they are called - nylon socks perhaps). They are cheap and slippery and, remember, Broadway Joe Namath wore nylons for cold weather games so maybe wear the full length ones and rock the slopes! ;) (Fish net is up to you but I don't advise it.)
I've never found any trouble putting my base layer into the boots. If that causes you trouble with controlling your boots to control your skis you are NOT a beginner. Don't tuck your jeans into your boots, but then again...
Don't ski wearing jeans anything... just don't. Wear a helmet... just do.
When carrying your skis in traffic, carry them vertically. Hold them up and down by holding with your fingers on the toe part of the binding. The skis go up along your arm and rest on the front of your shoulder. This is slightly tricky on stairs but you'll manage. Now you don't have to worry about going all Three Stooges on anyone. Same applies to poles. Just hold them oriented up-down and don't go swinging them around and you won't put anyone's eye out.
Backpacks and boot bags are good for hauling your stuff. Depends on the place and the parking situation (IMHO) about whether or not to boot up at the car or the lodge. Lodge is generally preferable but it is situational in my experience. Spend a couple bucks on some skitrax or something similar for when you need to hoof it a bit; they save your boot's soles and they give you traction. Whenever walking in boots, with or without trax, don't step on curbs or steps with the middle of your foot, that's not good and you may fall harder than you can imagine.
Lockers are good. I've never seen any that cost more than $5 for the day and those are big baskets that hold the entire gang's stuff.
Don't skimp on gloves or socks. Get good stuff. Take care of it. That really applies to all apparel. Being able to add or subtract liners and layers is good. Plus you have the boot bag to store the extras. That said, keep extras to a minimum. You'll learn what's enough over time but freezing or sweating is not good.
Take at least a few lessons. Learn some drills and practice them once in a while, even after you feel you can ski reasonably well. Every now and then leave your poles at the lift entrance or in the car or hold them horizontally and ski without using poles. Poles add something but not much beyond some odd peace of mind until you're doing pretty well and actually can use them a bit as they should be.
As others have pointed out, starting early and, if necessary, leaving early is strongly advised. You generally have the smallest crowds at opening. The only downside of this is that the early snow, if not powder, is often bulletproof cord. Not always the best stuff for beginners. An add-on to this is to follow the sun as it moves across a mountain in the morning. That way you get the good stuff as it softens up. As you move towards closing time the trails are often getting skied off and choppy. That's not all that much fun as a beginner, so ending an hour or so ahead of closing is often a good idea. As someone else above advised, if you are starting to think it is time to quit for the day, it probably is. Better one run too few rather than one too many. In my experience the worst mistakes happen when your legs become reluctant to follow instructions.
Since you've started early and are not wasting time in lift lines you can break a bit early for lunch as the hill starts to fill up. For one thing you can usually get a table. Many places are not fond of you pulling your food out of your boot bag or locker and then using one of their valuable lodge tables but I've never seen them take any action about it. Bringing your own lunch, especially for a family, is much cheaper (and probably healthier). Lodge food is generally adequate at best. And a simple PBJ can seem like a steak sandwich after a morning of skiing and fresh air. We often haul in the makings and the bread and just have at it. If you are staying slope side, well... all the better
At the end of the day, bring the boots in and let them dry somehow. Boot dryers are very effective, we use them and make sure everyone's boots get an hour or so on the dryer (we typically have two dryers going) before turning in for the night and before leaving in the morning. But, in all honesty, wadding up a couple handfuls of newspaper and sticking them in the boots will also do the trick unless your boots are extraordinarily wet inside. Another suggestion along that line is dryer sheets. The point is it is easy and a great idea.
I agree with whoever mentioned that spring skiing is not necessarily the best for beginners. Slush can be a real bear to ski in. It tends to be "grabby" with one or both skis suddenly slowing unexpectedly. One doesn't freeze but one might get soaked doing a face plant into slush when one's ski or skis decide to stay where right where they are at that moment in time without first consulting you.
Learn to get on and off lifts. Pay attention to the height of the chair relative to entry and exit. Sometimes they are a little high or a little low. If a too low chair catches you on entry you might get a bit slammed in the back and/or pinched at the back of your boot. Neither is good. If a chair is too high you get slammed in the arse and getting on becomes an unsightly mess and people will laugh at you. When a chair is too low for exit you need to get ready so you aren't suddenly caught in a deep squat you may not be prepared for. When the chair is too high, if you wait a second too long, you may be in for a little bit of drop. In general getting the heck off the chair and out there, first if possible, is a good thing. You may want to have a brief chat with your fellow riders about which way they are going off the lift.
Which segways nicely to what someone mentioned above re: exiting right or left. It is not my experience that most people exit right. My experience is that most people (we are taking about beginners here remember) exit whichever way gets them to the trail that most closely follows the lift back down. In my experience, for the less advanced portion of the ski area, the most crowded trail is the one that follows the lift. Avoid that one when possible. But think about right or left exit before you get on and try to line up for that if you can.
Also, re: the singles line, that is a good idea to squeeze a few extra runs out of crowded lifts. The ladies in your group, however, may not agree so play it by ear and keep apres ski in mind ;)
A big one already mentioned is to try and make sure you don't stop where people can't see you. Obviously falls are a different matter. Pull off to the side at the top of a drop rather than just over it. And watch for ski boarders who seem incredibly prone to stopping just over drops and sitting down in a line where nobody can see them. Not sure why they do that so frequently but some of my scariest moment skiing have been dropping over a little lip and spotting a line of sitting boarders ten feet in front of me.
I have not had the boot trouble so many have had so take this with a grain of salt and then sit back and watch me get screamed at... My first boots were Ski Barn end of season specials where I spent like $250 for the skis and boots. They weren't great but they were OK. My skiing outgrew them and I upgraded to some boots I found at a freakin' expo. They were very good for me, fit fine with a minor irritation on one ankle. My wife needed new boots very badly (she has had all the issues people complain of) and we went to a shop to get her some good ones, fitted properly. As she was starting all the adjustment stuff I asked the guy what he wanted to give me a basic once over adjustment and heat treatment. He said bring 'em in, he'd do it while My Bride was doing her sitting/standing around part of it. (The place was not crowded and our gang had spent a bit there over the week.) He did and it got rid of the irritation on my ankle. Cost me a case of his favorite beer. The shop wasn't crowded and I'm sure he wasn't a boot fitter to the stars and I don't have the greatest boots in the world but they are fine for me for several years now and with inserts and such I've spent about $400 total. YMMV. Next time I change boots I will probably go to a boot fitter right from the get-go but I don't have one local and I haven't felt the need to take time from skiing to do it.
Oh, yeah, have fun!
Last but not least, remember a a few simple rules:
1. Skiing is a cold weather sport. It can only happen when there is snow. Snow can only happen when it is cold. Don't complain about the cold. If you can't stand the cold, don't ski.
2. Skiing is expensive. If you ask someone to take you skiing and they do, don't complain about the expense.
3. If you got up the hill, find a way to get back down unless there is the broken point of a leg bone poking through your ski pants. The ski patrol doesn't need to haul your butt down on a sled because you are afraid or tired or feel like you might have, just maybe, sprained something.
Edited by Knucklehead - 11/12/15 at 11:32am