a bit of background:
i'm a not-terribly-experienced-but-decent skier, can ski most blacks in the northeast, and have been improving steadily. planning to go out west for the first time this season.
a couple of years ago i convinced my girlfriend to let me teach her how to ski. suffice it to say, i wish i had read some of the advice on this forum first!
note 2: so far i've been thinking to stick with the 'big mountains' because of the impressive views and experience, and also because i'd prefer to have more to explore while she's taking lessons :-) open to other suggestions as well though
Wow you sound just like me a few years ago bringing one of my exes to teach her to ski and boy do I have some advice for you!
Steamboat nails it below. I brought her to Stratton because it has a nice little village at the base and condo rooms for pretty damn cheap if you aim for an off-peak weekend. We got a short walk to the lifts and a nice condo and an inexhaustable source of firewood. That and if you send the gf off to a lesson and feel like blowin' yer skirt up, you can shoot across the valley to Magic (20 mins away) and come ski with me to get you ready for that trip west! Strat might not be the biggest or best but it has that all-in-one village feel that makes it easy to "do stuff" with her without getting in the car and driving. It will have plenty of skiing for you as well, but sometimes you just want to get away, which Magic is perfect for. Great sushi at the Sushi Bar in the village, the Green Door is a decent bar and there's a few good places to eat and try on $1800 Bogner coats and laugh at too. One nice thing about Stratton is that once she's ready to get off the bunny hill, you can hop in the relative warmth of the gondi and take a green from the top- and the view is always a nice detail.
Let me know if there's any specific questions you want answered, I'd be happy to help you.
1) Stratton, Has a cute little base village at the mountain & Manchester, which isn't to far away, is a village which is basically one big outlet store after another. Bromley or Magic are close to Manchester also but don't have base villages. They all have good skiing with Magic probably being the toughest hill in the area