I also have the Midlands, higher-end units that require a license to use the upper (GMRS - higher powered) channels, and I must say I'm disappointed. I knew going in that YMMV on the range, but I did some experimenting, going a little farther and farther and switching between the FRS channels and the GMRS channels, to try and see how much farther the higher powered channels would go.
The answer? Not any farther at all. This was in my neighborhood, trees/hilly, but no mountains. It didn't seem to make any difference at all. I'm sure that across a lake or something (LI Sound?) the extra power would make itself known, but for what I would use it for, it didn't seem to help.
I took them skiing anyway, at Tremblant, hoping I could reach my wife in the room slopeside, no dice, except for one spot on the Gondola, where it was a straight shot (and close) to the room, there was nothing. Even then it was hit or miss. You think yapping cell phones are annoying, try being stuck in a small Gondola with a guy trying to experiment to find which spots along the route his wife can hear him on his walkie-talkie!
On the slopes it wasn't horrible, so long as there wasn't any, and I mean any hill between us, we could hear each other, but that was on the same trail, just trying to tell her which way I went. If she was at the base and I was at the top (visual site line to her location), that was too far.
These are the units I have: (bought at Costco)http://www.midlandradio.com/comersus...idProduct=3135
On the GMRS channels a full charge wouldn't last a full ski day even with hardly using it to talk. If I were to do it again, I'd just buy some cheap FRS only units.