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Betty Fest: Pink boas and shredding the gnar

For women looking for a unique ski experience, the Keystone Betty Fest might be the answer. The Fest gives women an opportunity to improve their skiing in the company of other female skiers, and to work with female instructors who can tailor their instruction to the demands of female skiers.

Betty Fest is a popular two-day event, and many women return to it year after year, not only for the learning experience, but for the chance to meet other female skiers. These "Betty alumni" get a discount on the event. This weekend, December 12-13, is the first Betty Fest of the year. Other Betty Fests will be held January 30-31, February 27-28, and March 27-28.

Keystone doesn't cap the number of women who can sign up for Betty Fest, and welcomes skiers of all ability levels, from freaked-out beginner to cannonball expert. At past Fests, anywhere from 40-70 women have participated. The two-day class includes video analysis, and discussions about nutrition, women's specific concerns and equipment. Keystone tries to keep the groups small, with a student/instructor ratio of four to one.

A typical Betty day starts at the River Run gondola at 9:00. Students will go off with the instructor for the first part of the day, which will include video taping of each student individually. The class breaks for lunch at noon on Saturday at the Alpenglow Stube, where the instructors will analyze the video with each student and offer criticism of strengths and weaknesses in the student's skiing and offer advice for improvement. The after lunch program includes more instruction and more video taping. Sunday is more of the same, except for the lunch break.

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New for Betty Fest this year is "Intro to Betty," a one-day workshop on Saturdays for beginning skiers looking to get over their fears of skiing. There is also an Apres Party at Wolf Rock Steakhouse on Saturday.

The cost for Betty Fest is $245, or $225 for Betty alumni or college students. The cost does not include the lift ticket; however, those without a pass can purchase a discount two-day lift ticket for $78.

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