I'll second this comment.
First-timers who don't return to skiing find the lack of control astonishing, the danger is daunting to them, and they feel their physical efforts are unrewarded. Their feet hurt, they are cold, their quads are burning, and they are humiliated by falling. They can't imagine why anyone would want to work so hard for so little reward. They are more attuned to the frustrations than the beckoning thrills.
First-timers who continue to ski are attracted to the challenge of maintaining control. They like the potential of going higher on the hill and skiing steeper and faster one day. The difficulties of the first day are less frustrating to them because the hear the call of future thrills. They are willing to embrace the physical work in order to gain the skills to get the skills they want.
Good-fitting rental boots would do much to win over those who abandon skiing after the first time, because they could have so much more control.
Boot manufacturers would do themselves and the industry a big favor if they designed rental boots that had easy-to-use liner systems that cradled feet well without any custom-fitting. The liners could feel soft in the shop, so renters would be comfortable with a snug fit. Or shims could easily be fit into the boot to attain that necessary snug fit. Those liners could stiffen up outdoors in the cold. Also, boot sizes that mimic street sizes should reflect the REAL size needed (not as they do today, where you need boots labeled two sizes smaller than your street size).
Now some clever engineer could make those liners happen, right? Think of the benefits to everyone in the industry if renters had snug boots that didn't hurt. More control on the snow. Less floppy out-of-control skis. Fear diminished. Learning easier. More sense of accomplishment and triumph after a first day. More return skiers.
I think this is bang on.
Those boots where created and made....they were Salomon "Rear Entries".
They worked great...but for some reason that I still cant quiet figure out, these boots got a really bad name. From what I can tell it was mainly due to rear entry knock offs that didn't have the rear buckle. The rear buckle is what made them work...without that you had nothing. I dont believe any of the newer rental boots are as good as those older Salomons.
Second point: A resort I used to work at...had the instructors "help out" in the rental shops for about an hour prior to lessons. IT worked great, the instructors got paid...and would walk around the shop asking people if they were taking lessons..if they said "yes" the instructor would help them do a "quick fit"...with the boots...basically all they would do was make sure someone who needed a size 8, got an 8, and was not in a size 10. It wasnt perfect, but it was amazing the difference it made....I bet at least 50% of people would do the old..."I am a size, 8, but I have warm thick socks on, so I better get a 9 so I dont get blisters".....Ouch.
Not only did it give students a more positive on hill experience...when others saw the help they got by taking lessons....it sold a ton of "last minute" lessons...