Quick lifts, friendly staff, GREAT ski instructors
Kinda small terrain-wise
I hit all three local resorts (Appalachian, Beech, and Sugar) on consecutive days, so I think I can give a decent overview of the relative merits of each. I'm pretty much a beginner -- my idea doing the three days in a row was to learn how to ski well enough to do any blue trails without busting up too bad (mission accomplished).
I went to App Ski Mtn first (on Monday night, MLK day). I signed up for a group lesson at 8:00 PM, and as it turns out I was the only one who signed up. So I essentially got a private lesson at a group lesson price. My instructor was very friendly and encouraging and did a great job getting my beginner-self from snow plowing to confident turning. I was so glad that I did this lesson. It's obvious why App puts a lot of emphasis on their ski school. I'd be hard-pressed to see how my lesson could've been any better.
I didn't really spend any time in the lodge or deal with food, etc, so I can't speak to those.
If you're an expert skiier looking for lots of terrain, App is probably not the best place for you. It's not a very big mountain and there aren't a whole lotta trails to choose from. But if you're just learning, it's perfect. Their long blue trail (Orchard Run) is plenty of fun with enough variations in terrain to keep things interesting. The lifts and the lift lines moved very quickly. Of the three places I visited, app was the one where I spent the most time skiing as opposed to sitting on a lift. It's also less expensive than the other two resorts and has a more laid-back vibe. FWIW, I'd say the place is at least 60% snowboarders, at least when I was there.
I plan on going back here again, hopefully taking my youngest son for a snowboarding lesson. This'd be a great place for him to learn.