15 years ago ski selection was simple. Most men used 200cm long skis and the width of the ski was skinny, from 60 to 67mm for 99% of the skis sold. Women generally used a shorter versions of men's models. It took years to develop all the skills to ski a long, skinny ski.
Most skiers didn't ski very well, and the lack of innovation in ski gear was part of the problem.
Today, men can select a very short ski, about 160cm, or a very long ski, 190cm or longer. Women can select female specific models from 145cm to 180cm. Skis are made in skinny widths for racing or recreational skiing on hard snow. Skis are also as sold in width dimensions that are as much as twice as wide as the skinnier skis. These models are intended for floating on very light and deep snow. Highly specialized skis are available for everything from racing to extreme backcountry skiing.
Between the skinniest ski models and the fattest ski models are a full range of skis. Just about every variation of width, length, side-cut and camber is now available. Manufacturers continue to update products and are producing hundreds of models.
It now takes less time to develop all the core skiing skills, however, most skiers still didn't ski very well, even with all the advancements in skis and other gear. A lack of instruction is part of the problem today.
While it becomes obvious that many skiers are making ski choices based on meaningless trends and bad advice, we need to recognize that a broad range of skis is a positive step for the industry. A wide range of products does make it possible to find the "right tool for the job".
Also, a wide choice of gear combined with good basic instruction allows many skiers to progress quickly. This can only be good for the industry. Skiers that trust their gear and their training will stick with the sport. Frustrated skiers will not.
Are their any simple answers to the never ending ski debate? No.
However, skiers are now able to make ski gear decisions based on a deep range of information, The range of products and the range of opinions about the products are good for the skier willing to do a little research before they buy.