The way I have been defining "pro" is making enough money to live off of threw skiing. So NO you don't need a pro model ski to be a pro thats just fucking dumb.
Just getting a pair of skis = Flow threw sponsor (local kid)
Travel budget/small retainer under $8,000 = Semi Pro (?)
Anything over $8,000 = Pro (?)
Over $25,000 = Super Pro (?)
Over $100,000 = Mega pro (Tom)
I use the 8,000 mark because that's what you can barely live on for a year.