VERTICAL DROP GUARANTEE

Some operations in BC offer Unlimited Vertical Footage. Is this really a better deal? We think not. Why would you pay a premium up front, for skiing you may not get?

Vertical Guarantee System

Scenario Operator Client Comment
Poor conditions Operator loses income by giving refund. Customer disappointed for not having skied but happy to receive some compensation.
Average conditions Customer received what they paid for. Operator delivered what they were paid to deliver.
Good Conditions Customer has option to ski more and take advantage of good conditions. Operator happy to oblige and earn additional income and cover costs as a result of customer desire to ski more.
Amazing Conditions Customer very happy to be able to extend days, shorten lunches etc in order to take advantage of amazing conditions. Operator happy to oblige and generate more income and cover additional costs as a result of customer desire to ski even more.

Unlimited Vertical System

Scenario Operator Client Comment
Poor conditions neutral Operator has to refund. Operator is receiving premium income for the additional footage over the guarantee, even though customers are not skiing it. Clients refunded up to guarantee but they have paid the premium unlimited price and have received nothing for it.
Average conditions Operator receives premium income and while only providing guaranteed amount of vertical. Customer has paid premium price but only receives guaranteed minimum.
Good Conditions Operator provides what their premium price represents. Customer receives what they have paid for with premium price.
Amazing Conditions Operator has higher costs with no income generated because customer is demanding to ski. Customer can ski more and doesn't have to pay, but customer runs risk that they will have to persuade the operator to ski this large amount.

Vertical Guarantee System Explained

While we acknowledge that our method of charging customers for vertical footage may not appear to be the most straightforward, we firmly believe that it is the best and fairest deal for the customer.

The base concept for operating on a 'guaranteed vertical system' is in fact a simple one. The operator charges the customer a certain amount for a specific product / package which includes a number of pre-defined items. Both parties entering into the agreement are aware of what they are signing up for. The operator offers a 100% guarantee that should the customer not be able to ski / board the amount of vertical which is included in their trip, they are to be refunded. Should the customer choose to ski more, additional vertical charges will be made. The rate for extra vertical is the same as the rate for refunded vertical.

heli skier powder turn

While weather and snow conditions are generally good for heliskiing, they can vary significantly. A guaranteed vertical footage system allows for those variables to be accounted for in an unbiased way. If the decision is made by the client to ski / board above the guarantee because they want to enjoy fantastic conditions, then the operator is compensated for the additional costs associated with the extra skiing / boarding. In short, both parties are happy with the scenario. If conditions are average and the client chooses not to ski more than what is included in the trip then again both parties have met their obligations. If conditions or weather are poor and the guaranteed amount of skiing is not reached, you'll generally find everyone disappointed...guides like to ski as well! BUT at least the customer receives some compensation for the lack of good conditions.

Any deviation from the principal of having an agreed guarantee of vertical footage is risky for the customer. Looking at basic economics it is not in the interests of the operator to give clients lots and lots of skiing unless they are remunerated for it. There is no incentive for the operators to offer the client longer days, shortened lunch breaks, etc when the conditions are good. Most heliskiers want to take advantage of those dreamy days when they happen and a system of unlimited vertical footage as part of an operation's 'regular' program, in our opinion, does not allow for that.

Conclusion

  1. Best not to pay a premium price upfront for unlimited vertical footage. Why take the risk?

Vertical Feet

Heliski Tour Average Guarantee If you're lucky!
4 Day 75,000 57,500 100,000
5 Day 95,000 72,000 130,000
7 Day 140,000 100,000 180,000
9 Day 180,000 128,600 230,000
10 Day 200,000 143,000 250,000

Vertical Meters

Heliski Tour Average Guarantee If you're lucky!
4 Day 22,860 17,500 30,500
5 Day 28,956 22,000 39,634
7 Day 42,672 30,500 54,864
9 Day 54,864 39,200 70,104
10 Day 60,960 43,600 76,200