Sean Beckwith: Tipping the bro scales |

Sean Beckwith: Tipping the bro scales

In the land of the bros, the bro who sends hardest is king. However, if you’re a regular person who wants to know, “Should I try that activity?” as it relates to enjoying your vacation without a stay at the Aspen Valley Hospital, here is the Bro Scale.

If you’re confused as to what a bro is, it’s a person who craves adrenaline. There are other factors that contribute to being a bro like is your favorite artist a DJ, do you abbreviate words unnecessarily and do you own multiple neon-colored outfits? For an older point of reference, think Patrick Swayze in “Point Break.” For a contemporary one, think whoever played Patrick Swayze in the remake of “Point Break.”

There are three factors that go into the Bro Scale, and they are:

Risk of injury — How dangerous is the activity? The more dangerous, the better.

0-60 — How long does it take to reach maximum adrenaline? The faster, the better.

Aesthetics — How cool do you look doing the activity? The cooler, the better.

Each activity will be graded on a scale of 0-5 Bros after taking into account the above criteria, with 5 Bros being the maximum score.

We’ll keep the bromenclature to a minimum because sush instead of sushi is not a real thing people shorten and this is a respectable publication.


Cycling: 2 Bros

While the risk of injury is higher than you’d think, pedaling up Independence Pass before getting to open it up on the way down is a long endeavor. Even with the thrill of the descent, shoving yourself into butt-padded spandex and an aerodynamic helmet is not a particularly flattering look.

Mountain biking: 3.5 Bros

While mountain biking certainly can be done safely, the way of the bro is to look at something and squeeze every last drop of amplitude out of it. Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley have trails for all levels with plenty of options to go big or get technical. Mountain bikers also don’t sport form-fitting clothing.

Downhill mountain biking: 4 Bros

The difference between downhill mountain biking and mountain biking is how fast your stomach drops, giving you that “I almost got in a car wreck” feeling. One can take the gondola up Aspen Mountain and ride down or enjoy lift-served riding in Snowmass. And nothing says risk of bodily harm or badass like full-face helmets and body armor.


Rafting: 2.5 Bros

There’s plenty of white water in the area and you can certainly hire a rafting guide to show you a good time. Bros don’t hire guides; they are the guides. If little Timmy can do it, and you can be seen on a raft with little Timmy doing it, you probably don’t look that cool. Like mountain biking, though, you can go pretty bro if you choose the right river route.

Stand-up paddleboarding: 3 Bros

SUP-ing is like EDM: a trend born within this decade that is easily abbreviated and is probably overrated. That said, using a board — whether it’s a snowboard, skateboard, surfboard, wakeboard, etc. — always looks the best, and a stand-up paddleboard qualifies. The downsides are finding rapids that won’t throw you off your vessel and learning to balance. Skateboard and snowboard skills don’t translate as easily as you’d think.

Kayaking: 3.5 Bros

Being required to learn a maneuver — rolling your kayak — in order to avoid drowning screams danger, so high marks there. The difference between this and the two other water activities is you can reach peak adrenaline the quickest because you don’t have to worry about paddle partners or tricky balancing. Taking on the river solo in a craft that can handle everything also features very bro optics.


Hiking: 1 Bro

People enjoy hiking because it’s relaxing, the views are great and it’s relatively safe. Bros don’t like hiking for those exact reasons. There’s no speed, no rush, no swagger. There’s also the prerequisite that you have to tuck in your shirt. Add hiking poles and you’re lucky to even get one bro. The only saving grace is posting your fourteener cardboard picture to Instagram.

Climbing: 3 Bros

Scaling mountains with seasoned climbers, the correct safety equipment and the right amount of precaution has proven to be safe, but that still doesn’t mean the average person is going to put their trust in a couple carabiners, some rope and a harness. It may be a slow climb to reach the top but rappelling is something SWAT teams do, so, yeah, very cool.

Free soloing: 5 Bros

It can’t be stressed enough how dangerous this is. Just because you saw the movie “Free Solo,” which is to bros what “Catcher in the Rye” is to disaffected teenagers, does not mean you should ever consider climbing without equipment. Depending on your pension for vertigo, your blood probably starts pumping as soon as you look down from an uncomfortable height. But you will look cool for as long as you’re alive.

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at