The little family areas are great because the convenience and laid back nature more than make up for anything they lack in glamour or rad terrain. Check out the Colorado Gems
card for discounts (they're charging $10 for them nowadays).
For one of the best small areas, next time you're in Utah, check out Powder Mountain near Provo. Its the only place I've had a ski patroller say "follow me" and then drop into a tuck. We had to cross the flats to get over to a snowmobile tow that took us to where we could ski untracked glades down to the road and ride back in an old schoolbus chugging up the hill to the base area. You could almost hear that old Bluebird saying "I think I can..."
Ski Cooper would be a great place for that first day on teles, or your first day on anything, for that matter. Monarch and Wolf Creek are great on powder days, and the Basin just plain rocks. There's also a lot to be said for parking a stone's throw from the lifts.
Have fun out there,