don't worry about how much easier or harder the skiing will be, you will have a fucking blast. hopefully you get an outrageous powder day. i'll never forget my first trip out west. it is why i moved out of the midwest after college.
one tip, look at multi day packages for tickets to reduce the amount of monies you have to spend, or ask around here to see if there are discount lift tickets available anywhere. or even a season pass. could help save some cash
you dont want to know, might be better to hand someone your card and have them pay for it so you dont see it til after ur done skiing, itll save you the heartattack, but atleast ull have all the epic skiing to look back on.