Aiglon Beckwith Challenge
The Aiglon Beckwith Challenge is a longstanding tradition that brings together all the students and staff and helps to mark the beginning of the school year. In what is often simply called “the Challenge” the entire school comes together to run or walk up our local mountain trails to reach Bretaye, the summer alpage that becomes the heart of our winter ski resort in just a few months time. This event is an important first gathering opportunity for the school because it encourages everyone to join together as one international community; while we celebrate those who wish to run and try for the best times, the event is not a race. It’s about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
For some new students, this will be the first time they have ever attempted a mountain hike in any form. For others, this is a much-loved tradition and opportunity to spend the afternoon outside in the company of their friends. As the community moves up the mountain together it’s a wonderful opportunity to witness new friendships forming, conversations in multiple languages, intense athletes, and of course a few people always asking, “how much further?” No matter what the Challenge evokes in each student or staff member, everyone is encouraged to push themselves and to make the most of this unique opportunity.
In recent years the course has begun just above the village’s main telecabin station, meandering up the road and into the picturesque forests and pastures above. The total cours is approximately 6km with 650m of elevation gain. The junior school students begin a little bit higher, at Col du Sud, to then finish together with the rest of the senior students. The trail goes (often quite steeply!) into the mountains as it makes its way above the trees and around the golf course to eventually arrive in Bretaye. This course not only challenges the body but also offers a captivating introduction to our mountainous environment, especially for those experiencing it for the first time. At the summit, teachers, parents, and friends eagerly await, ready to offer refreshments and warm congratulations. Subsequently, everyone embarks on a serene and idyllic train ride back down the mountain to school.
The Aiglon Beckwith Challenge serves as an integral part of "Challenge Week," one of Aiglon's thematic focus weeks designed to deepen our understanding and embrace our Guiding Principles. Through special events and assemblies, Challenge Week centres our community on the transformative power of embracing challenges, setting the tone for an inspiring start to the academic year. As we progress through the year, we will continue to explore other focus weeks related to diversity, service, responsibility, and respect.
This special event not only tests our physical limits but also strengthens the bonds within our international community. It serves as a reminder that, when faced with challenges throughout the school year ahead, we can come together as a united, resilient group. The Challenge encapsulates the essence of Aiglon, where students from diverse backgrounds unite to grow, learn, and build lasting friendships that endure far beyond just one tradition or school year.