For me, I started as a shop bitch when I was about 15. I pulled file, waxed demo skis, took out the trash and sold gear for about 4 years.
While helping a few sales reps at a end of season demo (around March 04) I put off a good impression, and was told by 2 companys (Dynastar + Rossi) to put a resume in for a summer position at mt hood working in race services. So I did, and went through interviewing processes with both companys. Rossignol was going through a restructure, and was not sure on who was going to work at hood, so I took the job with dynastar.
I pulled file all last summer at hood, which was the shit. I was 19, skiing every day all summer, and tuning skis in the afternoon, all summer long. I met alot of important people, and through those people I got a full time position with Rossignol as a Marketing/Promotions Rep for the Northeast.
So, needless to say, it takes a lot of shit work (taking trash out at ski shops) to get the job, but it is possible.