LOWA ACTIVE Team Nina Ruhland

For a special and sustainable mountain experience

Nina Ruhland, founder and owner of Bergbegegnungen (Mountain Encounters), the first agency for sustainable mountain exper­iences, was born on 2 May 1980 in Kamen in the Ruhr area of Germany. It was her parents who instilled a love of hiking and nature in her from an early age. During weekend breaks at the family’s small holiday flat in a forester’s lodge in the Sauerland region, Nina spent many carefree and happy childhood days exploring the great outdoors: playing in the woods, learning the secrets of the forest with the ranger, jumping (or falling) into a stream for a swim almost every day, and lots and lots of hiking. The school holidays took them either to the North Sea or the Alps. And so the love for the mountains was kindled.

Nina’s second passion was writing. After graduating from grammar school, she completed an internship at a weekly newspaper, and subsequently went to the town of Münster in the north of Germany to study political science, commu­nication studies and sociology. As if that wasn’t already far enough away from the mountains, Nina then moved to Hamburg to begin her career in journalism. There she worked for large publishing houses – among other things as an editor and a deputy head of department. In those days, Nina spent almost all her holidays in the mountains, and her free time climbing in the DAV hall of the German Alpine Club. At some point, Nina Ruhland realised that this no longer was the life she wanted to lead: big city, traffic, parties, noise, stress, the pomposity in the publishing house. At that time, a mountain guide friend told her about a new training course offered by the German Mountain and Ski Guides Asso­ciation (VDBS) – to qualify as a mountain hiking guide. Nina quit her job in the editorial office, packed her bags and moved to Bavaria, where she worked as a freelance journalist and first completed her training as a mountain hiking guide and then as an inter­na­tional mountain leader. Since 2015, the Ammergau Alps have been Nina’s home. She lives there with her family in the pretty village of Bad Bayersoien. The mountains are always within view, and even on busy office days, a quick jaunt up the Hörnle can always be fitted in.

After many years of working as a guide for other mountain schools, Nina began to notice more and more that she actually wanted to do things differently. What she wanted, above all, was to make the experience in the mountains more sustainable. Not just for the guests, but also for nature and the people who live in the Alps. And so, without further ado, Nina founded “Bergbegegnungen” in 2021 – her own small mountain school, which she has been running with all her heart and soul ever since.

Facts & figures

Kamen in the Ruhr area of Germany
Home base:
Bad Bayersoien
Mountain hiking guide
Local mountain:

Nina Ruhland,
What makes hiking so special for you?

“I find that there is hardly anything that frees the mind and soul so profoundly in such a short time as hiking. Our body is happy to be allowed to do what it was built for, namely walking. When we are hiking, we again feel (at last) that we are part of nature. Espe­cially hiking in the mountains grounds us, because we are allowed to feel so unabashedly small next to these giants. During the hike or on arriving at the summit, new perspectives on life or problems often open up. When I’m in a quandary about something, or just having a bad day, I have to get out and hike. And I know that I will always feel better afterwards.”

Are there any items that you always take with you on a hike?

“Yes, cable binders. I love these little things! I’ve used them to mend guests’ shoes and backpacks. And then, of course, I also take a first-aid kit and a bivvy bag or emergency foil blanket, and definitely something sweet.”

What role does sustain­ability play in your life?

“A very big, and increasingly bigger, role. Once you understand that there is not just us and nature, but that everything is connected to everything else, and that our resources are finite, you inev­itably start to move through the world in a different way. I love being out in the wilds, it gives me so much, so it’s logical that I want to preserve this gift. Although, I’m not perfect in my sustain­ability behaviour either; I love dairy products, for example, and I like to travel by camper van. But I try to eat organic food wherever possible (for example, Demeter milk from the farmer in the village), I only buy fair fashion or second-hand clothes, I avoid flying and drive as little as possible. And in my Bergbegegnungen company I develop products, such as the first “green” alpine crossing, which are intended to have a sustainable effect for all parti­cipants. And I look for partners such as LOWA, who are also committed to sustain­ability. Instead of always just saying: “What can I, as just one person on my own, achieve?” and sit back and do nothing, we should all join forces, and then many single indi­viduals will become a mass of people that can make a difference.”

What does the perfect day look like for you?

“Well, just as the saying goes: “At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.” I experience that combination quite often when I’ve been out in the mountains and, in the evening, with an empty head, a full heart and red cheeks, I sit with friends and family over a good meal and a glass of wine.”

My shoes for…