Originally Posted by ssh
It seems that you are concerned with "what's required." I'm far more interested in what will help a skier towards optimal skiing for that person, and it starts with the equipment and the skier's physical abilities.
we're really derailing this thread, sorry to the threadstarter (etc.)
SSH, in the most early stages of skiing (never ever to L6 for example), we can help people make dramatic leaps with better boots and skis. also, fitness does also play a role in one's ability to learn to ski, it's certain.
Consider a different perspective ...
What if I took Bob Barnes, Ric Reiter, Tom Burch, Stu Campbell, Weems Westerfield (etc.), aged them to 70 years old and gave them very out-dated (or ill-suited for the task) equipment. Would they ski well?
Yes, they would ski well ... because they have excellent technique and tactics. A decade or more ago great skiers stood out from the crowd because they were the ones who could manage despite the equipment challenges.
Conversely, do I see people who due to the benefit of fitness and excellent equipment (bootfitting, etc.) who appear to ski better than they actually do? Yes, of course.
There are lots of different ways to look at skiing. When I think of it holistically, I think technique is the cake and stuff like equipment and fitness are the icing. Icing makes the cake taste that much sweeter, but a poorly made cake is still a poorly made cake.