If you’ve been thinking about taking a heli-ski vacation, you’ve probably run into the word “vertical” in perusing different options from lodges and operations. In its technical definition, the word means the amount, or distance, skied measured in feet or meters. One ski run might equal 2,000 feet of vertical, for instance. Or you might ski anywhere from 19,000-23,000 vertical feet on a heli-ski day, to put it in context.

With the technicality out of the way, at its heart, the word “vertical” is the foundation of the heli-ski adventure. Before heli-skiing was born, skiers had two options for achieving height to ski back down a mountain: a ski lift and hiking. Now, of course, high-speed lifts can move skiers quickly to rack up lots of vertical with multiple runs—which also means snow on resorts can get tracked out quickly, and a lift rarely takes skiers to the kind of bottomless, non-skier-compacted snow that powder seekers dream of. And hiking, while exhilarating and exalted on its own for the human-powered movement through a winter landscape, provides just a small fraction of the vertical possibilities available.

Hence, the helicopter: a beautiful way to access thousands upon thousands of feet of bottomless powder in a single day.

Now pair the word “vertical”, in your new understanding of it, with the word “unlimited”, and you’ve reached one of the core pillars of Great Canadian Heli-Skiing. In fact, Unlimited Vertical is a practice we pioneered. To grasp why using these two words together is something of a phenomenon, consider this: most operations guarantee a certain amount of vertical feet that you’ll ski with your package. The number differs by operations, but it’s usually in the ballpark of 100,000 over a week. It certainly sounds like a lot, but that metric has been around since the 1990s, and ski technology has chanced quite a lot since then. Now, a strong skier is likely to ski through 100,000 vertical feet in just four days—which either means sitting at the lodge for the remainder of your adventure (and if relaxing in a cozy, quiet timber-frame lodge by a fire is how you’d like to spend your vacation, then by all means, take advantage!) or paying more for extra vertical to keep skiing. And when our most recent statistics show that the average skier skis 141,000 feet on a week-long trip, paying more to ski as much as you’re able can add up quickly.

At Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, when we uniquely began offering unlimited vertical with all of our packages, without extra fees, we saw the culture change. Instead of spending their valuable time calculating costs and considering options, which intrudes on the adventure of a lifetime, our guests just kept skiing. No tallies and no higher bills meant a different relationship between our guests and our guides, that went from somewhat transactional to a more celebratory feel. We saw our guests base their experience on the quality of their days rather than numbers.

Now this year, for the first time, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is also offering Unlimited Flying, another practice we’ve pioneered. All private heli-skiing packages in the industry limit flying time, and similar to vertical feet, guests are charged more to go over. But we’re simplifying it, for the same reasons we’ve simplified vertical feet: our guests shouldn’t have to waste valuable time calculating and deliberating. We prefer you to focus instead on immersing yourself in the experience: the powder, the exhilaration, the relationships, the beauty, turn after turn and run after run.

Welcome to the unlimited height of your best days ever.

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