Yeah this is by far the most important thing. There is no shame in really working your way up... try things like doing backies out of the halfpipe at the bottom (making sure to not hit the vert part or cut anyone off) so you're comfortable with them in a park setting. Then find a smaller jump and get totally dialed there. Work your way up and up... and you'll eventually be good.
There's also no shame in going to a camp, or signing up for some freestyle coaching. There's great winter camps available, as well as summercamps that can help with getting a few of the basics dialed.
At a certain point you'll have to 'sack up' - but there's zero shame in building up so you don't get hurt.
I went skiing with the cub scouts and saw freeskiers in the shitty winterplace park. I wanted to be cool so I started to do hood rat shit and here we are.
Check out what I ride these days here - http://bit.ly/19DCx96