All Edelweiss team members share their enthusiasm for travelling, their love for details and the common riding and working experience. The 23 team members located at headquarters in Austria, the 17 customer service agents in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, United States of America, together with over 50 tour guides worldwide, form a perfectly sized team, where all know each other and work together.
Before you ask: Of course, there’s a reason why Tobias has the same family name as Werner Wachter, founder & owner of Edelweiss: Tobi, as his friends call him, is Werner’s son. And if you’re wondering if Tobi got preferred treatment while guiding a tour, simply because he is Werner’s son, then we can tell you that the answer is no. He had to prepare picnics, carry heavy bags and fix flat tires just like everybody else. Now, as a member of the office team and head of the garage crew, he still doesn’t get preferred treatment, just healthier food than most other people there.
Now that we set this straight let’s have a look at the facts: Tobi was born in 1986 in Tyrol, Austria’s most mountainous province, and he still lives there today. While travelling in New Zealand in 2008, he received order to assist in guiding a group of Taiwanese around this beautiful country; this was his first assignment as a tour guide. Later he studied sports management in Innsbruck, Austria, but during the holidays he guided as many tours as he could. A job in marketing of a large company taught him a lot, but it didn’t bring complete happiness, so he decided to come home and work in the family enterprise. Good call!
Unlike most Edelweiss office members Rainer doesn’t think of Tyrol as the most beautiful place in the world. For him Swabia, his ancestral home in south-western Germany, occupies the top spot, in fact he found it so unbearably beautiful that he had to leave it behind, back in 1995, in order to give his senses some rest. He moved to – you guessed it – Tyrol, where he still tries, after all these years, to master the local dialect. Once relocated Rainer, born in 1969 and a trained economic engineer, took a job with a company that sells giant earth-moving equipment. He handled the world-wide marketing of a product line, but when the company wanted him to move up the career ladder by sending him off to some far-flung country, Rainer resisted. After all, Tyrol was just too nice to be left behind.
In 2005 a fellow player from his Volleyball club approached him with a job offer: Werner, founder and owner of Edelweiss, was looking for somebody to reinforce his marketing and sales department, so Rainer swapped the big toys for the small toys that we all love so much: motorcycles. Two years later Werner started planning his tour around the world and paving the road to retirement. He appointed Rainer as General Manager, knowing very well that Swabians are better suited than anybody else when it comes to keeping the money in one place… Surrounded by motorcycle addicts Rainer was infected quickly and acquired his licence. He likes any kind of bike, as long as it suits the purpose of the trip, he even uses a push-bike sometimes to ride to work. Exercising out in the open air is one of his favourite pastimes, but he also likes to travel and to experience foreign cultures. His favourite destination is always the next one, he says, but his heart beats especially strong for Africa. Rainer himself doesn’t lead any tours, which is probably a good thing. But he can’t resist to pay a visit once in a while, just to feel the atmosphere on tour. If all goes well he likes to celebrate by watching the sunset, with a glass of red wine in one hand and a cigar in the other. But as much as he enjoys being responsible for the world’s greatest product and torturing the guides during one of his frequent tour visits, the one thing he likes best is spending time with his wife Gaby (who also works for Edelweiss) and their two daughters. A real family guy, like most Swabians are.
Cornelia was born in 1970 in the famous ski resort town of Lech am Arlberg in Austria. Obviously, her favourite pastime during the winter is skiing, in summer she loves to mountainbike or goes hiking, but her main hobby, her family, is keeping her busy all year.
Cornelia is part oft he Finance and bookkeeping department for over 10 years. Starting as a one person bookkeeping department, she now gets support from 2 collegues. She work at big projects, controlling and the balance sheet preparation.
She loves to travel, so far she made it to most European countries, to north Africa, she was all over the US, Canada and Mexico as well as to Singapore and the Maldives.
Her motto: The pessimist is usually right, the optimist however has the better life!
Erik was born in 1976 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Soccer became his passion and Erik even proved to be a talent, but due to illness and injury, he sadly had to find another hobby. He found it pretty quickly.
In 2002, freshly equipped with his motorcycle license, he got himself a Suzuki GSX 750 ES, built in 1983. As a student, you don't have much money and the Suzi cost little but offered a lot, especially lots of problems and defects. During this time Erik learned a lot about motorcycles. Next came a Yamaha FZR600 from 1991, he kept it for exactly 363 days and still rode 14,000 km with it. And then it was finally time for his dream bike, the Yamaha R6 (2000 model), and Erik was happy.
But as it always happens, the family grew and there was less time to ride the motorcycle. He traded the R6 for a 600cc Fazer, which he mainly rode to work. Relaxing afternoon laps are hard to do in the flat, congestion-plagued countryside around Rotterdam, only the dikes are nice to ride. Now, in Tyrol, it's completely different, the desire to ride has returned. Erik now rides a BMW F800GS, which was once part of the Edelweiss fleet.
Erik has always been a staunch Dutchman, he liked living there, studying (management, business, and law) and working (in a large, international company), starting his family... and one day he went on vacation to Tyrol. Afterwards, unable to get the mountains out of their minds, the young family made a decision, put all their eggs in one basket, and moved to Tyrol.
Immediately after arriving, he applied for a vacancy at Edelweiss, was interviewed there several times, put through his paces, and finally hired. This process had kept him on his toes for a good 1 ½ months (Edelweiss selects its employees very carefully) until the redeeming call finally came. He had also found a house in the meantime, friends and family in the Netherlands could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
At Edelweiss Bike Travel, Erik is in charge of the warehouse, making sure that the specifications of all motorcycles in the system are up to date, installing routes on the navigation systems used for "Self Guided Tours", and taking care of a thousand other things. In his free time, Erik likes to go out mountain biking, motorcycling, snowboarding with (or without) his wife and now three children and enjoy the beautiful Tyrolean nature, which feels like a big playground for a Dutchman. Today Erik is a convinced Tyrolean!
1965, April 27, 6:41 am: Gerhard sees the light of day for the first time. 47 years later: Gerhard joins Edelweiss as a tour guide. Another two years later: Edelweiss’ “Discover Our Earth” expedition gathers momentum and once it turns out that the office staff can’t handle all the new work load associated with it, Gerhard comes to the rescue. He swaps the motorcycle seat for an office chair, working 70 hour-weeks to get this tour on track. What do we need to get some Brazilian’s bike across the border from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan? Gerhard knows. How do we get a new valve cover to Southern Honduras quickly? Ask Gerhard. And who can tell me if my bike will be in Chile in time for the South America section? Exactly, “Mr. Around-the-World” can. Gerhard misses his motorcycle seat sometimes, but then again, his mind is traveling the world all the time anyways.
One thing is certain: Christiane definitely has the gift of the gab. Born and raised with younger twin brothers in beautiful Tyrol, she learnt to get her own way from an early age. Today, she is a communicative and open-minded woman that never fails to have a big smile and kind words for everyone. Although she loves her home Tyrol, her heart beats for traveling. Going to the USA at the age of 16 started her wanderlust. Since then, there hasn’t been a year without a plan for a small (or big) trip. No matter if cold or warm climate, European city trip or overseas backpacking trip, hotel or couch surfing – there’s only one thing that counts: discovering the world. Nothing makes her happier than adding another little flag to her cork world map as soon as she gets home. The flags for the Azores, Iran, the city of Nazaré in Portugal and Japan are still missing, and also her plan of taking the Trans-Siberian railroad is pending, but Christiane is certain: One day these dreams will for sure become reality as well. One of the things she loves most when traveling is strolling through supermarkets. She could spend hours there, wondering about what food other countries have to offer.
Christiane studied conference interpreting for English and Russian and media studies, she loves different cultures and languages and even speaks some of them – some more fluent than others. Apart from that she loves plants and animals, singing and cooking (preferably at the same time) as well as outdoor activities of all kinds – especially paragliding. Currently, Christiane has no time to get her motorcycling driving license, but she desperately wants a nice, colorful Vespa to get to the Edelweiss office in proper style to take care of all marketing matters. After all, riding on two wheels makes creative!
Thomas, or Tom if you prefer, is a native of Munich who has turned his back on his hometown after 44 years. His wife, who was once a participant on one of his tours and then hooked the guide, took him to the countryside in 2016.
But let's start right at the beginning. After high school graduation and an apprenticeship in Munich, Tom also studied tourism there. On the side he worked for an event agency, at the trade fair, as a cab and truck driver and even with the postal service, but none of this was really fulfilling. In 2002 he discovered an ad in a motorcycle magazine, applied for a job as a tour guide and started guiding the following spring. And soon it became apparent: this was exactly the right job for him.
Afterwards he led tours on all continents for 17 years, whereby especially Tibet, the Kilimanjaro tour and of course New Zealand became unforgettable for him. More than 200 tours accumulated, then it was time for a more settled lifestyle and Tom joined the office team. As of 2020, he is in charge of the computerized tour information system, writes texts and tour books, plans tours and takes care of projects of all kinds. The training of new tour guides is also one of his tasks. So, there is still the opportunity to be on the road on 2 wheels. Because "steady" does not mean "boring"!
Sarah was born and raised in the mountains in Tirol. After her tourism studies in Innsbruck, Austria, however, she had the feeling to just „get out“ and see the world, therefore she moved to London to work there. After a year, the longing for good food was too big, so she came back home. She went looking for a job and eventually started her career in product management at Edelweiss. Sarah loves traveling and considers herself really fortunate to have already seen the Northern Lights and to have even been invited at Santa Clause’s house. When traveling, she prefers going off the beaten tracks, whereby nature, culture and very good food are extremely important for her. Despite the many countries she has already been to, her heart still beats for Scandinavia, even though Iceland and Norway are still missing on her list. Whenever Sarah doesn’t travel, she loves to cook and to hike in the Tirolian nature. Well, and how about motorcycling? Even though nearly all of her family members ride motorcycles, she hasn’t got a motorcycle driving license. However, she is not aversed to it either. „Who knows“, she says. Maybe she will soon change her mind and also can’t resist the charms of riding a motorcycle anymore.
As a born and genuine Ötztaler Rebecca still lives in the immediate vicinity of this beautiful valley even after almost 30 years. She is very attached to her homeland and yet traveling is her great passion, which seems to be a contradiction, but only at first glance. She has visited New Zealand, Malaysia and Borneo, Nicaragua, the Bahamas, Miami and New York, South Africa and China.
She graduated from school with a degree in natural sciences, but she could not decide on a field of study and started to work - in a travel agency. There she reached the position of team leader, but then she wanted to try out new things and completed an online studies program in management. Afterwards she worked as an office manager and in human resources as an assistant to the Managing Director, but neither of these positions suited her very well, because the essential thing was missing: travel.
Curtains up for Edelweiss: at the end of 2019, she couldn't resist a job ad and joined the team in March 2020. Not the best of times, because this very month saw the start of the first Corona lockdown in Austria. Nevertheless, she quickly found herself in her new field of activity as a tour manager. She loves being in touch with her international clientele and has the perfect prerequisites for this, because in addition to being communicative she is also bilingual, her English is even good enough to act as a juror at language competitions and turn English textbooks into audio books. Very handy! But English is not her only hobby, she is very creative, both on paper (acrylic painting, charcoal/pencil drawings) and with regard to handicrafts (making decorations, crochet/embroidery), and in the kitchen (cooking and baking). She also loves to hike or - if Austria is in lockdown again - to indulge in yoga.
Rebecca can't (yet) look back on a motorcycle career, but she feels comfortable as a pillion rider, which is especially important when the company goes on a staff excursion. And when a tour visit is scheduled, because then she can take a seat on the back of the tour guide's motorcycle. Among the destinations at the top of her bucket list are Patagonia, Alaska, the Philippines, Costa Rica and Botswana. She loves the mix of nature, culture, city and relaxation, an all inclusive vacation would not be for her. That fits well, because Edelweiss doesn't offer something like that anyway.
Marc was born in 1969 in the beautiful region of Baden and was interested in computers from an early age. He didn't get his motorcycle license until he was 25, so this passion came a little later, but with force.
For the time being, he remained true to his hard drives and circuit boards, studied business informatics, and went to Frankfurt to work in the field of business intelligence. An interesting job, but soon the small, winding roads in the Taunus and the Odenwald turned out to be much more interesting, hardly a day went by without him roaming around on his KLE500 and then a TDM900. Soon the forays became longer, he went to the Black Forest, Switzerland, Italy, and Croatia, and it wasn't long before almost all of Europe was covered. During a tour in Namibia, Marc realized that "the world out there" was so much bigger and so he decided to break out of the constraints of everyday life. Quickly, his job and apartment were quit and his 1200GS was shipped to Chile, a year-long journey through all of South America began.
Marc didn't want to go back to a "normal" life after that, he applied to Edelweiss in late 2015, was accepted, and promptly sent back to South America to lead the world tour. Since then, he already guided six world tour stages in America and Asia, as well as a whole bunch of classic Edelweiss tours all over the world. An exciting, interesting life, which Marc wanted to tame a bit in January 2022. He moved to Tyrol, became part of the Edelweiss office team, and has been taking care of many of our overseas tours ever since. He will still go on tour from time to time, life should not be too tamed after all!
Christoph was born in 1977 in Leins, Arzl in the Pitztal valley, Austria and he is an enthusiastic skier –it is hardly surprising that after elementary school he attended a skiing commercial school in Stams, Austria. After two years, however, he had the big wish to make his passion for cars his profession, therefore he dropped out of school and began his apprenticeship as a car mechanic. He ended his career as active ski racer only three years later to address himself fully to his job. Since then, he has mainly been repairing cars, lorries and construction machines and was until last working as a lorry driver in the wood industry, before he became a member of the Edelweiss family as a mechanic in 2018. When not spending his free time with his two sons, you will see Christoph mostly on a skiing slope – once a skier, always a skier. In summer, he loves to hike and to visit soccer fields – he didn’t want to tell us whether he goes there to play or just to watch soccer.
Edelweiss was quite astonished, when Lucian sent a speculative application to Edelweiss in 2016 and graced the company with his presence in the workshop to help with the workload – before he even got the job! Yep, Lucian definitely IS persistent. But let’s start from scratch: Lucian was born and raised in Romania, where he also attended and graduated school with focus on informatics and mathematics. In 2014, he decided to move to Austria, where he had first worked as a cashier before he changed his plans and followed his passion – repairing (and riding) bikes. Since 2016, he has been working in the Edelweiss-workshop as a mechanic apprentice and he is, as he says, still very happy about his decision. Whenever Lucian is not working, he loves to paint the town red with his bike, to go snowboarding or travel. Lucian may not be the most talkative person, however, this is no problem at all, because as is generally known: Still waters run deep. Not only is he unbelievably precise and a perfectionist, but he is also always there whenever and wherever help is needed. His ambition and his diligence are what characterizes him an what make him a real “keeper” in the Edelweiss family.
Coral, Werner’s wife, is originally from London. Together they founded Edelweiss in 1980, operated it successfully for over 30 years and then retired together in 2011. In the beginning she was the one who drove the support van and handled the luggage, later she turned her attention to office duties of all kinds. On top of that there were several children to take care of and a household to run, and she managed, being a multitasking woman, to keep everything under control.
Coral and Werner like to ride motorcycles, bicycles and drive cars. They also enjoy swimming, skiing, reading and spending time with the family. And, believe it or not, even travelling can still be fun. But it’s hard to leave home. Mieming, she says, is just the most beautiful place to live.
Werner was 35 years old when he decided that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life dealing with medical equipment. So in 1980 he and his wife Coral founded Europe’s first motorcycle tour operator, gave it a catchy name, arranged a small fleet of BMWs and a year later they welcomed the first five paying customers in the Alps. This sounds like it was all very easy, but you can rest assured, it was not.
According to himself Werner never was a particularly able tour guide, but he must have done ok, because where would all that success of his company come from? Or was it Coral, who drove the support van and handled the luggage during the early days? We may never know for sure. What we do know is that the company gradually grew bigger, destinations, motorcycles, tour guides and office staff were added every year to secure Edelweiss’ position as the Number One in guided motorcycle tours worldwide.
30 years later Werner started thinking about retirement. But of course a man like him wouldn’t just quit and go home, instead he took the long way round. He worked for two years to set up a nine month tour around the world, the longest guided tour that had ever been done. He was to be part of it, of course, and after he returned home in July 2011, after 64,000 km on his bright orange BMW, he didn’t go back to the office anymore. Well, once in a while he does. For a coffee… Enjoy your time off, Werner!
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