The Niederhauser family has their own logo.. and it’s so great!

We interviewed Mason and Carrie to find out more.

How long have you had a van?  What was the inspiration for that?

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We purchased our van 12 months ago and have put a little over 12K miles on it already. We have 4 children that range in ages from 11 years down to 2 years.  Carrie and I have always felt strongly about spending time together as a family and exposing the kids to a variety of people and places. Living in Utah full-time, we are lucky to have diverse geography and landscape, but finding variety in culture and people requires hitting the road. Last fall we were finally at a point where we were ready to commit to a plan or idea that would take us to new places and help disconnect all of us from electronics more. Our timing in meeting the great folks at OSV was perfect!

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As I drove our van home to Utah from Oregon, I felt like we needed to have a name for the van that was meaningful to us as a family, reflective of our goals, and was something that each member of the family could take ownership in.  The van was definitely going to be “ours” where every member of the family had ownership.  Our ancestry is Swiss, and having spent three different summers in the Alps and Dolomites, I have always felt a strong connection to the beauty and majesty of part of the world.  As the national flower of Switzerland, the Edelweiss thrives primarily above 8,000 feet in elevation. Carrie and I know that we also thrive when we are above 8,000 feet and wanted our kids to experience that for themselves.

Please tell us about your logo.

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-7-13-04-pmWe took the next step with the help of graphic designer friend who helped us create a family logo that was reflective of what we thought was important. Romy, our oldest, liked the imagery of the mountains, while Ivy felt like the house represented our safe place. We added the swiss cross as a reminder of our ancestry, but Payne says he likes it because its like we are emergency workers than can help other people when they are in need.  Aren’t kids the best?  I would not have considered that, but hopefully we follow his example with a willingness to help others along the way.  We had a large graphic printed and installed on both sides of the van which certainly sets us apart and is easily recognizable to our kids.  We even have cycling kits made up with the graphic, which obviously everyone wears with pride and a sense of ownership.

What are some stand out trips in your van?

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In the winter we use Edelweiss nearly every Saturday in the winters to go skiing somewhere. We generally always tailgate with friends in the parking lot, and 8LWEISS is the perfect base camp. In fact the first trip to the ski hill was last year on Christmas Eve.  Each of the kids remember that being so much fun as we skied most of the day before heading home and enjoying the holiday.

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This summer we used Edelweiss regularly as what became known as the Green Canyon Shuttle.  There is a killer single track just 4 miles from our house.  It’s a gentle up and back with a dirt road that parallels it in Green Canyon.  We throw in all the kids and their friends, bikes and helmets and either Carrie or I drive to the top to drop everyone off. Then all the kids bomb down with their mini Camelbacks and bike gloves that are too big.  Its a ton of fun and the kids get to use the van just like mom and dad do when we go on more epic outings.

Another favorite memory was last Halloween.  We had just purchased the van and it quickly became the hit of the neighborhood.  We used it as the ultimate Trick or Treat mobile as we blasted Halloween music and drove slowly through the neighborhoods while the kids and their friends ran house to house.  With the sliding door open and interior lights on, it was a party.

What do the kids think of it?

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The kids love it when we pull in to a gas station or stop for food, because invariablly some stranger comes over and wants to talk about it and see inside.  The kids ask if we are famous.  Obviously we aren’t famous, but there is no question we are very lucky!

What would you recommend to other families about van design?

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Because hauling people and gear are our priorities, we have had to sacrifice some of the nicer conveniences available in Outside Vans.  We love our bed, all of the seating options we have, all of the gear connectors and racks, but the kids say their favorite is the Webasto heater to keep us cozy regardless of whether we are camping overnight or
eating a quick lunch in the parking lot at our local ski hill Beaver Mountain.

We have successfully figured out how to sleep all 6 of us inside Edelweiss, though it is a little tight with having gear on board as well.  We are strongly considering a roof-top tent to allow a couple of the older kids to sleep up top and free up more room under the 3-panel bed. Ultimately, we love the simplicity of our van. It gives us a lot of options.
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 What else would be fun for us to know?

You can follow our comings and goings on Instagram @8LWEISS.  And if you see us along the way, please say hi. It strokes our kids egos.

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Some of our other highlight trips this past year have included:

Moab / Arches National Park / Canyonlands National Park

Pikes Peak Colorado for the hillclimb race

Big Sky, MT

25 Hours of Frog Hollow mountain bike race

Camping at Tony Grove with friends

Bear Lake, UT on the beach

St George, UT

Brian Head ski resort

Sun Valley, ID

Bloomington Lake, ID

Escalante/Capital Reef National Park, UT slot canyon hiking

Park City, UT mountain biking

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