Sean Beckwith: Month-by-month power rankings of Aspen’s months

Targeted ads are a terrible idea. Not only do they freak you out following a deluge of Pampers ads after you audibly said “diapers” once while talking to your brother-in-law about your nephew, but also why are you hocking the pair of shoes I just bought?

I agree that my taste is impeccable; I don’t need multiple pairs of the same shoe, though. (I did, however, buy the same pair of custom Reeboks twice — back to back, not simultaneously — because I designed them and they were clean AF.)

If the rest of the internet can figure out what I’ll click on without mining my data, then Nike can, too. For example, on the short list of “Phrases you put in a headline that will get me to instantly click” are “new dinosaur,” “lost WWII relic found,” “new Marvel trailer,” “Scarlett Johansson” and “power rankings.”

I think the most magnetic out of all of those is power rankings. There is nothing like when your team is playing well and hovering right around the top of those pointless and a lot of the time record-reflective lists.

What does all of this have to with what I’m writing about today? I put “power rankings” in the headline with the hope that you, like me, are a sucker for them.

I don’t think I need to explain this too much seeing as it’s in the headline, so I won’t. Here are your month-by-month power rankings of Aspen’s … months.

1. December — December is, and always will be as long as skiing is still a thing, the Rolls Royce of months. In a place increasingly defined by extravagance, it should surprise no one that every room, delivery truck, plane, CMC shuttle, condo, Airbnb is stuffed with enough gifts, tourists, skis, luggage and Amazon packages to make a workforce of 20,000 tremble. Other months try to jam an entire springs break’s worth of stress into two weeks, but no month does it like December.

2. March — The key to making it through ski season’s final boss is to go somewhere warm for a weekend in February. If you can’t do that, do as much spring skiing as possible. After a few hot laps in a T-shirt, you can almost taste the offseason. You’ll need it because the relentless waves of families and frat boys will break you like the surf off of Nazare. Also, if your job allows it, go full senioritis and stop caring by 25% to 30%.

3. July — What will it take to shift this interest from the outdoors back to whatever else it was people were doing before they cared enough about a social media presence to hike somewhere for a photo op? I credit Instagram and e-bikes for making July the summer season’s December. The secret about summer has been out for a minute, and it’s in the form of a candid picture of you in a big hat, laughing, rose in hand, in front of an Aspen sunset.

4. September — Before you lose your mind, let me remind you (for the first time) that I’m ranking 2021’s September. If my intro wasn’t so long I would’ve told you about this twist before we got here. You have JAS Labor Day Experience, Food & Wine, Snowmass Wine Fest, Balloon Fest and Ruggerfest all in the same month. That said, the leaf peepers and wedding parties are turning this month into a mini March from a burnout/offseason-can’t-come-soon-enough standpoint.

5. August — That’s right, another summer month. There’s no massive event in particular, but I found myself consistently in awe of how packed town was. There are various metrics to tell how busy town is, but my favorite is “How mad will a five-minute errand in town make me?” On a scale of annoyed to irate, I came in at livid during the majority of August.

6. January — What a treat it was this year not to have to transition from New Year’s week to Carnival escapists to X Games. I don’t blame the fine people of Brazil for wanting to avoid the Carnival. If I could just peace out every year for X Games weekend, I definitely would. So, yeah, not super excited for the release of two years of pent-up aggression this January.

7. February — This is my personal favorite month of the ski season. It’s as down a month as you can have in the winter, so it’s possible to take that weekend trip to remember what sun feels like. Also, I think it’s consistently the best month for snow (but don’t advertise that).

8. June — In a move that could only be foreseen by the likes of The Watcher, what a twist it was that the month usually home to Food & Wine also was, in retrospect, the safest option for the 2021 classic. I also prefer it in June, because you always want drunk people to be toasting beginnings, not ends. Think the optimism of a wedding as opposed to the finality of a graduation party.

9/10. November/April — Speaking of beginnings and endings, these months are notable in that ski season starts and ends during them, but even then, the snow isn’t fantastic. You know what is fantastic, though? Offseason. Sleeping in. Vacations. Empty streets.

11/12. October/May — People only hate cold weather and snow when they can’t do anything with it, which is why they stay away during these months most of all. The leaves have fallen, the slopes are muddy and the weather wherever tourists came from is actually bearable. Now, where are those targeted airline ads?

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Email at