Vail Symposium winter lineup |

Vail Symposium winter lineup

Speleologist Bill Steele will recount his underground adventures in January.
Special to the Daily

The Vail Symposium is known for bring thought-provoking, creative discussions to the Vail Valley throughout the year. It has just announced its winter lineup with programs beginning Thursday, Dec. 6, and running through April 2019. The schedule is still being finalized so some programs and dates may change, but here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming events:

Thursday, Dec. 6:

Palliative Care and Medical Aid in Dying: Putting the Person First at the End of Life

When faced with terminal illness, there are few avenues for those who are contemplating the end of life, but palliative care is one option. Palliative care is not hospice — it is patient-family centered care that decreases pain and symptoms, eases suffering and increases survival for patients when offered early in people contending with serious illness. Unfortunately, palliative care is a limited resource in many community settings. In this presentation and panel discussion, health care professionals from the Front Range and the local community will provide an overview of palliative care and present information about medical aid in dying.

Monday, Dec. 10:

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12.10.18 Chasing Denali: The Sourdoughs, Cheechakos and Frauds Behind the Most Unbelievable Feat in Mountaineering

In 1910, four gold prospectors summited North America’s tallest mountain in a single day, using little more than doughtnuts and rudimentary equipment. Their journey is the starting point for the history of mountaineering on Denali — but were they telling the truth? Join Vail Symposium as Jon Waterman unravels the mystery in a presentation about these unlikely climbers that blends adventure and history and brings the story to life.

Thursday, Jan. 3:

Turbulent Times: Turkey’s Role in the Middle East

Turkey has once again been making headlines with Erdogan’s rise to power, its focus on a stronger Islamic state and the exposure of the Saudi Arabian murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Once lauded as a model for the Islamic world from a western perspective, the growing tensions with the United States and Europe raise significant questions about the future of the Turkish relationship and its role in the greater Middle East. In this program, Kemal Kirisci will provide a balanced view of Turkey’s historic and future role.

Wednesday, Jan. 9:

Increased Productivity and Decreased Stress: Better Life Balance is Achievable Through Time Management

Squeezing more hours out of your day is not always possible. Are meetings and emails weighing you down? Are you perpetually procrastinating or finding yourself sucked down the hole of the internet? If your workload is growing and you constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed, then this is the program you need to attend. Presented in conjunction with the Vail Valley Partnership.

Thursday, Jan. 10:

In Deep: Bill Steele’s Journey to the Hidden World Beneath Our Feet

Bill Steele explores the unexplored — the vast underground reaches of cave systems snaking underground throughout the world. Join Steele on a journey to the dark depths beneath the Earth’s surface and discover the fascinating and unique sights found only there while learning more about caves as an important piece of our planet’s puzzle.

Thursday, Jan. 17:

Fact vs Fiction: The Advent of Fake News and How to Discern the Truth

Join the Vail Symposium for a special program where fake news and the various ramifications from its proliferation are addressed as our experts help to distinguish fact from fiction. David Mikkelson, the founder of, will be joined by Sam Gill, from the Knight Foundation, which works to promote excellence in journalism.

Wednesday, Jan. 23, through Jan. 24:

The Rise of Asia in the 21st Century: What It Means for the United States

Will the 21st century be the “Asian Century?” Asia is a global powerhouse of economic growth. Militarily, China continues to flex its muscles and extends its reach. But Asia’s future trajectory remains uncertain due to serious challenges that are environmental, political, economic and social. This two-day, four-session program will provide an in-depth focus on major issues impacting both Asia and the United States and the relationship between the two powers.

Monday, Jan. 28:

‘The Human Element’ with James Balog and Olivia Ahnemann

Renowned photographer James Balog (Chasing Ice) uses his camera to reveal how environmental change is affecting the lives of everyday Americans.

Thursday, Jan. 31:

Mo in the Mountains

What is life like for an adaptive athlete in a non-traditional sport such as climbing? Maureen Beck, better known as Mo, came of age in the generation of doers and creators in adaptive climbing who were instrumental in establishing these programs. Beck will discuss what creating a new style of climbing was like and the work it took to build a new community.

Wednesday, Feb. 6:

‘The Energy Codes’: Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body and Live Your Best Life

Dr. Sue Morter uses “The Energy Codes” to guide her students to unprecedented levels of creativity health, and healing by building neuro-circuitry to raise their cellular vibrational frequency.

Tuesday, Feb. 12:

Fleeing Home: The Refugee Experience in the United States

This program features Hardin Lang, vice president for programs and policy at Refugees International, a veteran of six United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian field missions. Lang will present the latest situation with refugees coming to the United States from around the world, with a particular emphasis on the Middle East. This will also include an update on refugee candidates still living in the Middle East in camps or waiting for clearer status and will also include the first-person stories from two separate refugees who came to the United States.

Thursday, Feb. 21:

Your Body on Meditation: The Science Behind the Health Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Over the past two decades, there has been significant interest in mindfulness training interventions, with some promising health benefits in initial randomized controlled trials. However, little is known about how mindfulness interventions get under the skin to influence health. This program will describe research linking mindfulness interventions with a broad range of health outcomes and describe share studies showing how mindfulness interventions change the brain and physiology in ways that may explain their health benefits.

Thursday, Feb. 28:

Politics and the U.S. Economy

The impact of politics on the economy in the United States is undeniable. From Reaganomics to trackable peaks and dips of the stock market that accompany tweets, our country’s economic successes or downturns are inextricably linked to what is happening in the White House and on Capitol Hill. In this special fireside chat with Richard Bard, former vice chairman of the FDIC, Thomas Hoenig will delve into the economic ramifications from the 2018 election, tax law changes, debt and spending issues, the impact of foreign policy as it relates to tariffs and NAFTA and other topics, delivering real-time insight on these important issues.

Monday, March 4:

The Future of Food: The Impact of Food on the Health of the Planet and Humankind

The food we consume and how it is produced has a profound impact on our environment. Starting locally, this program will address the extent of food insecurity in our own community and the efforts to address it, then will lead into discussions around climate change and its impact on our global food supply.

Thursday, March 7:

Making News: The Quarter Century Collaboration Between Correspondent David Martin and Producer Mary Walsh

It takes weeks, months and sometimes years to get a news story from conception to broadcast on a show such as 60 Minutes or CBS Sunday Morning. Emmy Award-winning CBS News correspondent David Martin and producer Mary Walsh, who have worked together for 25 years, will discuss how stories are crafted, how decisions are made and how reporters handle the tsunami of news in these challenging times.

Thursday, March 14:

Life Before Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives

This program explores the various features of the worldwide phenomenon of children claiming to remember past lives, describing numerous cases along the way. Common features in the cases include a child talking about a past life at a very early age, behaviors that appear connected to that life such as phobias related to the mode of death, and sometimes birthmarks or birth defects that correspond to wounds the previous person suffered.

Thursday, March 21:

Vail Veterans with Col. Greg Gadson, Capt. Dawn Halfaker and Lt. Jason Redman

Fifteen years ago, Cheryl Jensen had the idea to bring wounded veterans to Vail to ski. Since 2004, the Vail Veterans Program has transformed the lives of military injured and their families through innovative programs that build confidence and life-long relationships. The Vail Symposium is honored to present a special program in collaboration with the Vail Veterans Program. After their profound sacrifices while serving their country, three Vail Veterans Program alums continue to set an example long after their military service has ended as exemplary citizens. Listen to their stories of healing, recovery and post-service accomplishment.

Thursday, March 28:

Aging Slower, Healing Faster: The Latest Research on Stem Cells and Staying Younger Longer

As the worldwide population ages, the health care systems of every country — including the United States — will face significant challenges to meet the needs of an aging population. Johnny Huard, Ph.D., is a regenerative-medicine researcher, with more than two decades of stem cell research. He is seeking ways to help the body age slower and heal faster. Anti-aging is more than vanity medicine. Unchecked, the staggering cost of health care for our aging population will pose a heavy financial burden on our country. Huard’s research has led to methods to delay aging by years, thus improving quality of life for individuals and reducing health care costs for society.

TBD: Weed the People:

Exploring the Medicinal Value of Marijuana

Medical marijuana is now legal in a majority of states and most Americans support full legalization. However, marijuana remains controversial. Director Abby Epstein and Executive Producer Ricki Lake made “Weed the People” to explore the potential of medical marijuana and the regulatory challenges families and researchers must overcome to use it.

Thursday, April. 4:

Dream Messages From the Afterlife with Rosemary Guiley

Dream expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley presents a ground-breaking validation of powerful, life-changing dream reunions with the dead that bring comfort, guidance, closure and the healing of grief. Her presentation will include inspiring accounts of dream visits from deceased loved ones, descriptions of the unique characteristics and types of dream visits, how to benefit from dream visits from the dead, related deathbed visions and dream previews of the afterlife, premonitory dreams of death, near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences.

Thursday, April 11:

Immigration: How to Protect Your Business and Advocate for Workers

This program is hosted in conjunction with the Vail Valley Partnership. Since the start of the Trump administration, workplace enforcement actions have increased five-fold. No longer is the focus merely on compliance within the frame of I-9 regulations, but the government is also focused on compliance surrounding the hiring of temporary seasonal workers. Now, coupled with a constricting visa processing system and aggressive removal practices, the constraints on foreign workers and the companies that employ them have never been more challenging. This practical panel will explore what employers can do to ensure compliance and help lobby for an expansive use of business based visas for low-skilled workers.

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