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Off-Road Adventures

Hallmark Mountain High

After getting his first Hallmark camper, Matthew Bernier decided to take on a quick winter crossing of Engineer Pass.  Two days later, he emerged on the other side.

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Reading Matthew Bernier’s interview, you can almost hear his mind at work.

“Why not buy multiple ski passes and spend seventy days a year at Vail?”

“Why not cross Colorado’s infamously challenging Engineer Pass in the winter?”

“Why not take your wife, two kids, and two dogs camping in a pop-up truck camper?”

We get the feeling that there’s been a lot of, “Why not” moments in Matthew’s life.  This is a guy who likes to think big, and make things happen.  Maybe we all need to think a little more like Matthew and ask, “Why not” when things get in the way of our dreams.

Why not?

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Above: Matthew and Jennifer’s Hallmark Milner at Vail Pass

TCM: How did you get into truck camping?

Matthew: When I first moved to Colorado I skied seventy days a year.  I wanted to live in the mountains, but couldn’t afford a place there.  That’s when I started looking at truck campers and bought my first Hallmark.

Many of the winter photographs I sent you are from Vail Pass.  My friends liked to say my second address was, “1 Vail Pass”.  It’s true.  I had a house at the highest elevation in Vail, my truck camper!  Lucky for me, Vail Pass allows overnight parking.

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A season pass costs between $300 and $400 per year.  I would buy a season pass to Vail, Copper, and Winter Park and stay on Vail Pass.  There’s a cell tower nearby which allowed me to check my snow and ski reports on my computer and cell phone.  It was perfect.

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TCM:
How did you decide on a Hallmark for winter camping?

Matthew: Friends of mine had a Hallmark already and lived up in Aspen.  When I saw their Hallmark rig and truck camping lifestyle, I realized that was definitely what I wanted to do.

Even though it’s a pop-up, my camper is very well insulated.  I’ve been in temperatures as low as twenty and thirty below.  I would be in a T-shirt and shorts inside the camper.

TCM: We camped in temperatures near freezing in a Hallmark and found we were plenty warm.  Of course we burned some propane, but that experience showed us that a pop-up camper can be used in cold temperatures.  You’ve now had two Hallmarks.  Tell us about your first one.

Matthew: In 2004, I got my first Hallmark.  At the time, I had to borrow money to buy that camper.  They are more expensive than some other pop-up truck campers, but the quality is insane and the customer service is even better.  I’ve never purchased anything where the customer service has been this good.  I also like the fact that they are built in Colorado by a family run business.

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TCM: Tell us about your first trip with your Hallmark.

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