Vail Symposium series explores ‘wellness’
September 10, 2013
VAIL — On the surface, "health and wellness" seems a self-explanatory topic. But dig deeper, and topics start to become a bit like snowflakes, with virtually endless variations on the theme. That's what's happening in Vail this fall, with separate, but complementary "health and wellness" events.
Last year, John and Jamie Stone founded Living at Your Peak, a weekend-long combination of seminars and activities. That first event was cohosted by the Vail Symposium, a longtime area nonprofit group that hosts seminars on subjects from mountain climbing to the national debt.
After that first weekend last year, the Stones and the Symposium went their separate ways.
“There’s no better place than Vail (for health and wellness topics). It just makes sense to have these events here.”
The Stones founded a new nonprofit group, DiscoverWell. That group is the host for this year's Living Well Summit in Vail, set for Sept. 19-21.
The Symposium went a somewhat different direction, keeping the Living At Your Peak name, but turning the event into a series of one-time seminars and panel discussions.
East meets West
This year's series deals with "integrative" medicine, the link between the mind and body, and the merger of Eastern and Western medical traditions.
Symposium board member Gary Gilman said the speakers are leaders in their fields and will talk about the science that links mind and body with topics such as the power of meditation to affect physical healing.
Living Well, meanwhile, is continuing the events that started last year, with well-known doctors and athletes participating in both seminars and activities.
Themes fit with Vail Valley
Jamie Stone said the themes of Living Well and Living at Your Peak fit well together, in large part because of the Vail Valley.
"There's no better place than Vail" for health and wellness topics, she said. "It just makes sense to have these events here."
Symposium board member Pam Bard agreed, saying Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has put a good deal of his administration's economic development focus on health and wellness. The Vail Valley could be one of the centers of that effort, she said.
People who value the outdoors, healthy living
And the Vail Valley is an attractive place to bring speakers for a handful of reasons, Bard said.
"We have a combination of the quality of our lodging and dining, as well as the quality and outlook of people here," Bard said.
Those people — residents, second-home owners and tourists alike — value the outdoors, exercise healthy food and more, Bard said.
"That's why I'm here and own a place here," she said.
Add in the quality of recreation, from skiing to golfing to cycling, and the valley is hard to resist.
Steve Virostek is one of the owners of Triumph Development, one of the main sponsors of the Living Well events. Reached by phone in Italy, Virostek said the valley's reputation as a place for recreation is a big help toward making it a health and wellness mecca, too.
"We were having dinner with two other couples here in Florence, and we all talked about what a wonderful place Vail is for cycling," Virostek said.
That growing reputation means the Vail Valley is poised for more growth in health and wellness, he said.
"We've talked about it in Vail as the third leg of our (economic development) stool," Virostek said. "There are just so many facets to it — it's like peeling back an onion."
More events to come
Beyond the seminars this fall, there's more on tap for coming months, and Virostek said he can envision health and wellness seminars and events taking place throughout the year.
Bard said the Symposium board will talk about more Living At Your Peak events at its annual retreat next month.
"I'm excited about the series, and the future," she said.
Stone said she sees plenty of potential for growth in the Living Well series, too.
And, Bard said, she hoped to be able to attend at least some of the Living Well events.
"There's such a broad range of topics to follow," Bard said. "It's a huge opportunity for Vail."
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 and firstname.lastname@example.org.