Nolo's original question is "if you want to do something or do something better, why not take lessons?".
I think it's really easy for anyone to make an arguement that lessons will help you get better faster.
So, why don't
people take lessons?
I think it depends upon whether a person thinks of skiing as a recreational activity, a hobby, or a sport.
I'd never take mini-golf lessons... I don't do it that often so it doesn't matter how well I do it.
I love to read, but do it really slowly. Reading slowly doesn't decrease the pleasure I find in reading. I'd never take lessons to increase my speed.
I am a passionately, avid skier. I want to ski everywhere in all kinds of conditions and know I need the skills to do that.
Our industry needs to sell lift tickets, equipment, and cafeteria food. Lessons also produce income for resorts. Most lessons occur at the Beginner level(s). Fundamentally, we just need people to ski - people to come to the mtns and spend money to ski - in order for our industry to continue.
Many of you sited "instructor"-related reasons for not taking lessons. That's OUR job. Wear your uniform, ski really well, smile and be friendly to people. I always present an attitude of "hey, we're here to help you!!".
all this talk - man I want it to snow!!!