Aspen Princess: If the pants don’t fit, just wear a tutu. |

Aspen Princess: If the pants don’t fit, just wear a tutu.

Alison Berkley Margo
Aspen Princess

I meant to tell you guys this story last week but I got distracted by our trip to Florida and all my misadventures there that were apparently a lot funnier than I thought (thanks for your emails by the way; they always make my day).

So in lieu of the end of yet another ski season (my 15th in Aspen), I got a good one for you.

Ryan’s parents were in town for Highlands closing day so we went to it. While I love all of our four beloved ski areas the way a parent loves their children, appreciating each one for its uniqueness and individuality, I do have my favorite.

It’s no big secret that I am a Highlands person. I am not a day-counter, or a vertical-feet-counter, so I have no need for a gondola or the convenience of Ajax. I imagine that one day soon I will be spending many weekends at Snowmass, and I actually love the terrain there for snowboarding — when it’s freshly groomed, Sneaky’s is like the perfect, never-ending face of a glassy wave on a left-hand point break that was probably accessed by boat.

So I was stoked to have the chance to say goodbye to another season at Highlands, to do one last bowl lap, to thank the ski patrol for all they do and to snowboard in a tutu, because if that doesn’t keep you young, what will?

Initially though, I had planned to wear the kick-ass vintage ski suit that was passed down to me from a long line of bad-ass skier chicks. It’s not one of those ugly ’80s one-pieces, but a sexy-as-all-get-out number from the ’70s: skin tight, in a flattering shade of navy blue with white stripes down the arms and legs. It’s technically a two-piece, but the jacket zips onto the pants and has one of those James Bond chick-style belts and is so cool I’d almost consider wearing it with a dress.

So I go to try it on and am a little sad when I can’t button the pants. It goes over my legs and butt just fine, but the waist is unfathomably small even though it did, at one point, fit. I somehow manage to stuff my gut into it, only catching my skin on the zipper twice. The pants have enough stretch to pull it off, even though my muffin top is now at a whole new level, like sausage in a casing. Whatever it is, it’s not a good look.

But I’m not giving up. I’m actually considering wearing these pants even though I literally can’t breathe and the circulation to my brain is being restricted enough to the point that my cheeks are turning slightly purple.

I put the jacket on and can’t even come close to actually being able zip it up. I yank and pull and suck all the air from my stomach into my lungs so I sort of look like Minnie Mouse, but to no avail.

I cry, but only for about five minutes.

Then it hits me: I’ve got yoga tights up the wazoo — tights with flowers, tights with palm trees, tights with gingham and houndstooth and solids in three different shades of hot pink.

I can totally make this work.

I pull out the floral ones and throw on a cute white mini skirt, wishing I had a tutu or boa I used to save for occasions like these. But those items, along with my white go-go boots disappeared somewhere between my 30s and 40s, like the mysterious missing sock of my youth.

“I’m not dressing up,” Ryan announced. “It’s gonna be cold so I’m just wearing my usual stuff.”

“Geez, that’s so sensible of you,” I said, feeling a little disappointed. Ryan used to be the king of dressing up on closing day. He even made the cover of the Aspen Times Weekly in a one piece so ugly he made it look cool. I framed it and hung it on our bedroom wall. “I just wish I had a tutu,” I sighed.

I have to admit it turned out to be a bizarre experience. It was as if we were on the outside looking in and somehow separate from the scene. We stared, mostly in silence, at the young ski bums who surrounded us dressed in superhero costumes and giant animal suits. There was one girl who wore leather chaps with hot shorts underneath and whose rear end was so firm and round I felt the urge to smack it. I have to hand it to her for knowing how to pull off a hot look, and meanwhile I’m having flashbacks of my belly fat getting caught in my zipper.

Still, I made the most of it, drinking a beer at the Merry Go Round before hiking the bowl instead of after. I walked outside and began to strap into my board when some girl staggered up to me, with her bright pink wig and one fake eyelash half falling off. She pulled her tutu off with aplomb and shouted, “Does anybody want this?”

“Yes!” I squealed, raising my hand. It was as if this wasn’t coming from some drunk girl who was probably tripping on mushrooms but from some higher power, like a personal message meant just for me from God.

“You can have it. I just have way too much going on,” she said, handing it to me. Then she strapped into her snowboard, stood up and shouted, “See you at the bottom, mother f—ers,” and took off.

In that moment I officially became the woman I used to laugh at, the middle-aged lady with two braids and pink sunglasses, snowboarding in a tutu. And I have never felt more proud.

Here’s to the next 50 years. Thanks, Aspen Highlands, for another good one.

The Princess still thinks Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol are the sexiest. Email your love to

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