The Edelweiss Team

All Edelweiss team members share their enthusiasm for motorcycling and travelling, their love for details and the common riding and working experience.

 

The 15 team members located at headquarters in Austria, the 13 customer service agents in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine and the United States of America, together with over 50 tour guides worldwide, form a perfectly sized team, where all know each other and work together.

 


Office Team

  • Rainer Buck

    Rainer Buck

    Managing Director

     

    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 Squash 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.

     
  • Werner Wachter

    Werner Wachter

    Founder & Owner

     

    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!

     
  • Coral Wachter

    Coral Wachter

    Founder & Owner

     

    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.

     
  • Markus Hellrigl

    Markus Hellrigl

    Operation & Fleet Logistics

     

    Tyroleans are usually born with skis already attached to their feet. Markus had them too, but also the fingers of his right hand were bent in an unusual way and he discovered later that they would fit perfectly around the throttle grip of a motorcycle… Markus was born in 1956 in the ancient town of Hall in Tirol, where he still lives today. For many years he didn’t really know what to do with himself, he led a restless life, joined two UNO missions to the Golan Heights, studied sports and geography, and he travelled. And man, did he travel! There is not enough space on this web site to name all the countries he visited, but he especially loves Greece and Norway, Chile and South Africa, the US and the Middle East. Once it took him seven weeks to ride from Innsbruck to the North Cape and back and this trip still stands out as his personal number one.

     

    In 1993 Markus found a way to put the fingers of his right hand to work: he guided his first Edelweiss motorcycle tour and he loved it so much that he hasn’t stopped guiding ever since. It was only in 2012, after 19 ½ years on the road, that he traded the bike seat for an office chair, and his colleagues suspect that he just couldn’t stand the thought of Edelweiss celebrating him for 20 years of service. It would just make him feel sooo old… But with age comes experience, and if there ever was a full-blooded tour guide, Markus would be it. Hundreds of tours, thousands of happy customers, more than a million kilometres on two, four and eight wheels and countless outstanding picnics are firmly tucked under his belt. Somebody once called him a true professional, and that is certainly true. Markus is married with two kids and besides motorcycling and chatting on the phone with his tour guides he loves mountain biking, skiing, and music, and of course he loves spending time with his family. Now, with his new office job, he’s got more time than ever to do that. Right, Markus???

     

     
  • Albert Knapp

    Albert Knapp

    Operation & Fleet Logistics Assistant

     

    Albert, born in 1973 in Gnadenwald, lives now in Telfs, a multi-cultural town near our Edelweiss headquarters, Tyrol, Austria. He joined Edelweiss in 2012 to be a tour guide, because he likes to be around people pursuing their favorite hobby.

     

    But Albert also spends plenty of time in the company’s workshop to help fixing bikes, preparing vans and cleaning up picnic equipment. Well, that’s what happens if you live too close…

     
  • Jens Chowanierz

    Jens Chowanierz

    Mechanic, Transports & Logistics

     

    Jens was born in 1978 in Jena, which, back then, was in the German Democratic Republic. Thuringia, the land of sausages and dumplings, was his home, but his young life was not all about eating, it was also about work, especially handiwork with hammer and spanner. He just loves to work on cars, bikes and trucks, so when he joined the Edelweiss team in 2012 is was a perfect match.

     

    Jens likes mountain bikes, snow boards and fishing rods, and motorcycles of course. Not just repairing them, he also likes to ride them. Especially Ducatis, the Monster 1100 and the Hypermotard are his favourites.

     
  • José Terán Gómez

    José Terán Gómez

    Mechanic, Transports & Logistics Assistant

     

    José was born in Mexico City in 1954 and by the time he was eight years old he knew exactly what he wanted his life to be about: music and motorcycles. Music, because he loved the guitar he was given for his birthday and motorcycles, because his uncle, a policeman on a Harley, took little José for a ride for the first time.

     

    In Mexico José attended university for eight years and studied the art of music. He formed a rock band named “Caja de Pandora” (Pandora’s Box) and toured through Mexico and all of North America for many years. In 1994 he miraculously found his way to Tyrol where he worked in numerous jobs to support his love for music.

     

    At a concert in Mieming he met Werner Wachter, founder and owner of Edelweiss and they started talking – about motorcycles of course. Werner offered him a job as workshop assistant, and José seized the opportunity. Now he can make a living from both of his passions. Lucky guy!

     
  • Thomas Sermonet

    Thomas Sermonet

    Mechanic

     

    Many people claim to have gasoline instead of blood flowing through their veins, but Thomas Sermonet from Tyrol, Austria, really lives and breathes cars and motorcycles. In 1985 Thomas started from the very bottom, as an apprentice in an Opel dealership. Later the passionate motorcyclist switched to Toyota, another manufacturer that doesn’t produce motorcycles, so in order to appease his appetite for two-wheeled technology he had to use his spare time.

     

    In 2000 he went back to school to become a master craftsman, succeeded the following year and continued to acquaint himself with pretty much every car and motorcycle brand under the sun. He is especially fond of Porsche, his season as a race mechanic in the Porsche Cup series was a great adventure and loads of fun. In 2010 he finally started his own business, fixing everything that has wheels and a combustion engine.

     

    In 2012, when Edelweiss was desperately searching for someone to help with the massive workload during high season, Thomas was there and jumped on board. He loves working on all the late-model bikes (and also test-riding them!) and facing the challenges of working under immense time pressure. Welcome to Edelweiss, Tom. Time pressure is something we can offer any time!

     

     
  • Cornelia Hammerle

    Cornelia Hammerle

    Finances & Bookkeeping

     

    If you pass by the Edelweiss office in Mieming at 10 pm and the light is still on then you know: Cornelia is busy. Yes, she likes to work late, but not because she can’t get it done during her regular office hours, but because she has a family to take care of. So she waits until everyone is in bed – and then heads back to her desk. 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, but her main hobby, her family, is keeping her busy all year and around the clock, sometimes leaving only the late evening hours for her job, see above.

     

    The finance and bookkeeping department within the Edelweiss head office is where Cornelia works, she actually IS the finance and bookkeeping department. She likes her job and the fact that her home and her workplace are so conveniently close to each other. She loves to travel, so far she made it to most European countries, to Turkey and Tunisia, she was all over the US, Canada and Mexico as well as to Singapore and the Maldives. If there is one thing she hates it would be dishonesty, and I think we can all agree that this is a great characteristic to have if you are a bookkeeper. Cornelia wants to be not only the best one that Edelweiss has, which she already is, since there is only one, but the best one that Edelweiss ever had. Well, we think you’re on your way, Conni!

     
  • Gaby Buck

    Gaby Buck

    Finances & Bookkeeping Assistant

     

    Originally Gaby comes from Munderkingen, a small town in the south-western province of Baden-Württemberg, in Germany, but she lives in Telfs now, not far from Edelweiss headquarters. She began working there in December 2010 as assistant of finance and bookkeeping but quickly took over more responsibilities, including customer’s t-shirts. She also tries to make the tour guides look good while on tour by supplying them with riding gear, shirts and jackets. As you can imagine it is not easy to make ALL the guides look nice, so she considers this the hardest part of her job. And, being General Manager Rainer Buck’s wife, she is also pulling lots of strings from behind the scenes… ;-)

     

    Gaby loves traveling, especially by motorcycle, because it makes it so much easier to get in touch with people and cultures from around the world. Therefore working for a company like Edelweiss makes perfect sense for her. So far she has co-piloted her husband’s bike on tours to Andalucia, Norway and South Africa and she plans on coming on many more. Of course these tours are not just holidays for her since she always has to make sure the tour guides look good, see above. Apart from riding Gaby also enjoys hiking, running, reading, going to the movies or the theatre or just having a glass of wine with friends while discussing life, love and legends. Or the tour guides’ outfits… But not even all these hobbies can distract her from the most important things in her life: her family. Gaby and Rainer have two daughters. Her motto is: “if you don’t move you’ll be stuck with the past”.

     

     
  • Karin Gritsch

    Karin Gritsch

    Marketing & Communications


    Within the young Edelweiss team Karin is one of the youngest. That doesn’t mean she is a rookie, just the opposite, she has been with the company since 2007 and knows exactly what’s going on in the office. And outside the office, too, because she likes to come on tour once in a while to get first-hand information. Karin was born in Tyrol in 1988 and has lived here ever since. When she went out looking for a job she knew exactly what she wanted: fun, a creative environment, interesting work in different fields, interaction with people, a chance to travel. What she didn’t know back then was that she would also enjoy riding motorcycles. At Edelweiss she found herself surrounded by people who love to ride, so she got herself a motorcycle license and now it is almost impossible to get her off the bike.

     

    Marketing, public relations, and communication are Karin’s main work fields. Every year from April to July the sheer size and complexity of the ever-changing Edelweiss tour catalogue weighs heavy on her shoulders. Karin loves to travel, especially to Africa, but there is no country in the whole wide world she is not interested in. She loves the rain (!), good food, and a good read and does always find the time to enjoy her multiple hobbies.

     
  • Anna Hertwig

    Anna Hertwig

    Sales, Events & Administration

     

    Anna, originally from Thuringia, has always been a biker girl. She started riding as soon as she reached the legal age, then she joined the local Free Biker and headed out to explore her world on a Suzuki LS 650 Savage, an old-style thumper chopper. She not only rides it but also repairs and customizes it herself, a task that keeps her so busy that she hardly has time to pursue any other hobbies. That’s the price you pay for riding an old bike, Anna! And it won’t get any better once you’ve brought your other bike to Austria: a classic Simson AWO.

     

    After graduating from school Anna went to Egypt for a year, then came back to Germany to complete her education by studying tourism management in dual system and so at the same time working in a hotel in Thuringia. And after she was done with that she went out looking for a “real” job, something that had to do with travelling and motorcycling. And since Edelweiss was looking for somebody to help with the ever growing number of custom tours Anna didn’t hesitate to leave the hills of Thuringia behind and relocate to the mountains of Tyrol. Her office duties encompass not only custom tours but also marketing, especially handling events and trade shows. She’s also planning on coming on a tour visit very soon; her workmates have already told her how much fun it is to go on the tour guide’s nerves…

     
  • Stephan Kaltschmid

    Stephan Kaltschmid

    Tour Management Europe

     

    Stephan was born in 1983. He lives in Igls, a small town outside and above Innsbruck in beautiful Tyrol, Austria, right next to the ski slopes. His interests include motorcycling, travelling and meeting people, so working as a tour guide for Edelweiss comes very natural to him.

     
  • Karoline Gorzelski

    Karoline Gorzelski

    Hotel Reservation & Agency Relations

     

    Ask Karoline how old she is and all you’ll get is a smile. We know how old she is but we’re not supposed to tell anybody, so all we can do is tell you that she was born “about 30 years ago”, that must be sufficient. Karoline was born in Poland, but lived in Germany for the better part of her life. For years she looked for a good excuse to move further south, to the mountains, mainly because her hobbies include things like rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, rafting, and canyoning. Tyrol offers all that, so she is a Tyrolean now, because she says home is where your heart is.

     

    When Edelweiss was looking for a Hotel Reservations Manager back in 2010 Karoline seized the opportunity. Years of experience came in handy, she got the job, moved to Austria and started working on January 1, 2011. She likes her work, but she needs very strong nerves sometimes to deal with hotels. Karoline has always loved to travel, she went to most European countries, to Canada, and to more adventurous destinations like China, Cuba, Morocco, and the Emirates. Rumour has it that her next trip might be a rafting expedition to Mongolia! Live your dreams instead of dreaming your life away, that’s her motto and she certainly lives up to it.

     
  • Viktoria Neuner

    Viktoria Neuner

    Customer & Agency Relations, Hotel Reservation

     

    Many moons ago a man and a woman from the wild little mountain tribe in the heart of Europe had a daughter: Viktoria. We don’t know how many moons ago, because she won’t tell, but we know she was born in June. Viktoria grew up in Austira, but since she is a serious pasta and veggie aficionada she couldn’t wait to move to Italy, to Rome. There she found all the pasta she could wish for and on top of it she learned Italian, so when she returned to Tyrol in 2010 she spoke it better than most Italians. Coincidentally, back then Edelweiss was looking for somebody with a fluent command of Italian to complete the office team, so Viktoria came on board.

     

    Her responsibilities include customer and agency relations and hotel reservations in Italy and other Italian speaking countries. As an avid traveller Viktoria is busy checking countries off her bucket list. Most European countries, the US, Japan, northern Africa and the Middle East were her destinations so far, but of course she wants more. Her wanderlust and her hobbies neatly complement one another, she loves photography, art galleries and learning languages, and after joining Edelweiss she learned to love riding motorcycles, too. The sun shines on every tour that she comes on, so if you’re lucky she may come on your next one!

     
  • Doris Waldegger

    Doris Waldegger

    Customer & Agency Relations

     

    Doris started working for Edelweiss a long, long time ago, back in 1988, when she was a young girl of around 20. Now, as a young girl of around 45 she is the heart and soul of the office team and if you ever book a tour with us chances are that you’ll exchange letters or emails with her or talk to her on the phone or both. She loves to deal with people from around the globe and with a multitude of cultures and destinations. Helping people to plan their dream vacation means as much to her as her own travels.

     

    Her favorite Edelweiss tour is the one to Macchu Picchu, but she also loved New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Mexico and the USA. She has been to Europe several times and finds it hard to decide which part she likes best. Well, actually not that hard: Doris is a Tyrolean girl through and through and even though she loves to see the world she knows that Tyrol is the center of her universe. She loves her mountains and her peaceful little hometown of Silz, her family and the garden behind her house. She values harmony and honesty, in private and on the job, and this is something you can feel whenever you deal with her. Just like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry she feels that only the heart can see what’s essential in life, not the eyes.

     
  • Gerhard Schmittlein

    Gerhard Schmittlein

    Motorcycle Expeditions

     

    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. Many other things happened during those years, we’re sure of that, but we don’t know, so you’ll have to go on tour with him and ask him in order to find out.

     

    Gerhard likes being a guide for Edelweiss because he says this is the best way to meet the world’s coolest motorcycle riders. He lives in Niedertaufkirchen, a small town about 50 miles east of Munich, Germany.