Swandog7You get get sponsored because you are great skier. Companies want to sell more products.
The first bit, no, the second bit, yes.
I've done the spansercized thing in a couple of areas before (not skiing) and you don't have to be "the best". You just have to be not rubbish - more importantly, you need to be able to help them shift product. There are loads of things that come into it, such as your social media profile and just whether you come across as an asshole or trustworthy.
Essentially, a company will often quite happily hook you up with gear as long as you drive more business to them than it costs them to hook you up. Also bear in mind that even if you're not dealing with the brand directly (i.e. with an area rep or something) the manufacturer will likely give the rep some free/cheap gear for the purpose of promotion.
And just another thing people don't always think about - sometimes it's the low-level, quiet sponsorships that are effective - when a pro talks up their gear, there's always the nagging thought of "you obviously get paid to say that" but if you took a chairlift ride with someone and got talking about skis with them, and they were super positive about a certain bit of gear, what's to say that's not because they're actually getting it on the cheap?
Whenever I've gotten gear (non-skiing) cheap or free it's been because I will promote that product and drive sales, not necessarily because I'm the best at that particular thing.