Editorial: There’s nothing like an Aspen January

January is that one month a year in Aspen when the town has a near identity complex, yet in a very good way.

There’s Wintersköl, which started Thursday; Gay Ski Week, scheduled Sunday through Jan. 19; and the Winter X Games, which run Jan. 23 through 26.

Wintersköl, now in its 63 year, is a toast to winter and a truly locals’ event, originally beginning as a way for Aspenites to let themselves go after a busy holiday season.

Gay Ski Week attracts visitors from around the country and the world. Much has changed in American society — and the courts — in regard to the acceptance of gay marriage and civil unions since Gay Ski Week started 37 years ago. The event, however, always has been a widely accepted event in Aspen.

And then there are the X Games, which draw an entirely different crowd: a young set with an affinity for watching — or actually participating in — high-flying snowsport acrobatics at Buttermilk ski area.

No three events could be more different, which is why January is arguably the most unique month of the year in Aspen.

Yet while Wintersköl and Gay Ski Week appear to be permanent fixtures on the Aspen events calendar, the same can’t be said for the X Games, which will mark their 10th year on Buttermilk snow this month.

It remains unclear whether the X Games will return to Aspen, as the event’s title sponsor and operator, ESPN, continues to negotiate with Aspen Skiing Co. We hope that the X Games return to Aspen for many reasons, global exposure being one of them, but also the youthful energy that the event injects into the graying town of Aspen.

And, of course, it just wouldn’t be January without the X Games. Our so-called messy vitality depends on it.