You don't really know if they ski only at that hill, though, do you? Or use the jackets only while skiing? there are also many other activities in which one can use a high-end shell, most of which do stress a jacket more than skiing does, that's true. But if you only have one jacket, might as well do everything in it. Including ski at a small hill.
True enough. I always found it trickier to dress for XC in near-wilderness areas than for riding the lifts close to home. Layering, with a good shell on top, is golden for self-propelled work back in the boonies, even if the shell is stuffed in a backpack much of the time on milder days.