Axelson - here's some answers to your questions...
Great input, thanks a lot! When loading/unloading the box today, do you use a stool, stand on the wheel or the door opening to be able to reach?
A: on my Acadia I just step in the door opening. At 6'1", I just need an extra foot to easily see inside and slide things around. If it's just a few pairs, I can easily just reach up from the ground & drop them in. If it's my Suburban, then I'm using door frame for skis, but wheels for full pack jobs (duffle bags, suitcases, diaper boxes, etc). Even when there is a stool readily available, I'll still use the door or wheel. It's just too easy and stools/etc sit out from vehicle which forces a pretty good reach to the box.
Would as you say be preferable if you could lower the box when loading and then easily put it up again, especially for tall vehicles.
A: If it was a stable system, lowering would be nice, but I know that for big loads, I'll put 250#+ into the box. Lowering it would need to have some sort of assist for most people and be a very strong support system
Also, the Barrecrafters sounds interesting, do you have the name or a picture on the the model you are talking about?
Here's the only pic I could find of the rack. Basically there was a roller (think roller coaster w/ wheels on top/bottom) in the back of the ski rack near the silver bar that rolled along the round cross bars. The front was 'locked" into place with a post and keyhole shaped hole on the bottom of the ski rack assembly. When standing on the side of the vehicle, you would unlock the rack, flip up the side lever (you can see it in the top right corner) and that would enable you to lift the front of the rack off the locking post, roll it out and the bottom would lay on the side of the vehicle. The top would open via a hinge connected at the rear and stick out at ~90 degrees. Easy to load/unload & not too heavy even with 5 pairs of skis per side in the '70s.
As I mentioned, I have 2 cargo boxes & will never look back. Assuming I don't rip one off in a parking garage, they're one time investments. Maybe another product line to look at would be some sort of inserts for the cargo boxes. Hold skis, poles, separation partitions, etc. I remember a thread a while ago where people were concerned w/ scratches & would layer carpet, etc between skis. I thought a ski sock would be an easier solution, but if people are willing to pay $, there's always an oppty.
Also, look in the parking lots at multiple ski areas (not just your region). What types of vehicles are there? That should give you a good idea of your market for cars, small SUV, full size SUV, etc. Each segment will have different needs. Talk to the people loading/unloading. They'll tell you their biggest frustration as they'd be dealing with it live.
Good luck and hope to see you on Shark Tank soon.