The past three weekends I've been demo-ing.... tennis rackets. The brick-and-mortar store I go to charges $3 per racket per day. They have strongly urged me to take out more than one racket at a time so I can actually do a comparison. They deduct up to $40 in my accumulated demo fees from the list price (not MSRP) of a new racket. After trying four different rackets in various paired combinations, I bought a racket from them this past weekend. The one I chose was about $15-20 more at this store compared to prices for the same racket on the internet, but after the demo deduction it cost me less, plus I didn't have to pay shipping cost.
Assume the average actual price of a good racket is around $180 (mine had an MSRP of $220, but the store's price -- before demo deduction -- was $191). Assume for the sake of discussion that the average retail price of skis is around $900 (yes, I'm making a generalization, but stick with me). Thus, a tennis racket is roughly 1/5 the price of skis. By this model, the demo price for skis would be $3 X 5 = $15 per day, and the ski store would urge the customer to check out a couple pairs at the same time. Plus, when purchasing skis, the customer could get his/her season's cumulative demo fees deducted from the list price, up to $200 ($40 X 5).
The idea behind this model is to sell the product -- not to make money from demo fees. Why not do it for skis?