Happy 35th birthday, Vail Symposium | VailDaily.com

Happy 35th birthday, Vail Symposium

Cassie Pence
Special to the Daily The Vail Symposium hosts jazz pianist Bill Cunliffe plays and discusses "Jazz Piano: From The Brothel To the Big Stage" on Feb. 24. Visit www.vailsymposium.org for more information.

Vail Symposium president Ebby Pinson said it’s tough to name the highlights for this winter’s schedule because all of the programs are so different and diverse.Offering a little something for everyone in the way of culture and education has been the goal of the nonprofit organization for the past 35 years. The group celebrates its birthday in March. This winter is no different, as the symposium has an eclectic lineup on tap ranging from Backyard Adventures in Boulder and Breckenridge to Hot Topics on energy to Cultural Arts workshops involving folk-style furniture painting. “The Robert Burns birthday celebration is something really different,” Pinson said. Burns is a Scottish poet, and his native country has been honoring his birthday with festivities for about 100 years. The Vail Symposium is throwing a tribute Jan. 25 with a four-course dinner, including traditional haggis, music and poetry. Executive Chef Richard McCreadie at Remington’s in The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch – a native from Scotland – went to Pinson about the idea. The two know each other from Slow Food, an international foodie organization in which the symposium helped to start the local chapter. The symposium often partners with other groups in the valley, like Slow Food, the Gore Range Natural Science, the Beaver Creek Resort Company and Colorado Mountain College, among others, to broaden its programming.The symposium’s most popular series, Unlimited Adventures, returns with topics on Alaska, grizzlies, bicycling through Asia, skiing and exploring Borneo.Author of “Lives of Grizzlies: Montana and Wyoming” and “Lives of Grizzlies: Alaska” Jim Cole will present a multi-media presentation on grizzly bears March 9. Cole is also a singer-songwriter, and his discussion will include original songs that correlate with slide photography.”There is a mystique and fear surrounding grizzlies,” said Cole. “I want to try and teach people to have a very healthy respect of grizzly bears, but not a fear.”Cole has been studying the bears for more than 30 years throughout America from Yellowstone National Park to Alaska. He observes and documents what they eat, what they do and how they relate to other animals.”They are the most fascinating, intelligent, resourceful, adaptable animals I have ever seen,” Cole said. “Grizzlies are a real symbol of true wildness.”Know Your Valley and Exit Strategies are two new series added to this season’s lineup. Know Your Valley looks at threats facing the natural world of the Vail Valley. Regional and local experts will discuss issues like I-70 and wildlife, forest health and fire. Exit Strategies explores different issues surrounding death.

“Exit Strategies is not about how to prepare to die, it’s about how to have fun living up until the last moment,” said Dr. Nancy Johnson, the creator and moderator of the program. “It’s about making decisions before you’re in a crisis. Maybe if I can’t ski at Vail, I don’t want to live any longer. It helps you to think about those things before they happen to you.”Johnson said believe it or not people have fun with Exit Strategies once they’re through the door. It’s very practical, she said. The two part series begins Jan. 30 and finishes Feb. 6.The symposium’s Backyard Adventure series will take guests to the International Snow Sculpture Contest in Breckenridge, an art tour in Boulder, a snowshoe hike with Gore Range Natural Science School instructors through Maloit Park and to the Silver City Dog Sled Races in Leadville.Pinson said each year she tries to book an activity that actually requires use of the hands. She’s hired on artist Erika Ammann to fill the slot and teach a workshop on painting furniture April 5, part of the symposium’s Cultural Arts series.”Erika lives here in the valley, and she teaches classes on painting in the Bauernmalerei style all over the world,” Pinson said. “The style is like farm painting, flowers and designs you might see on Austrian or Bavarian furniture.”Philip C. Wilcox Jr. returns Jan. 23 to discuss “Israel and Palestine: Peace or Renewed Violence,” the first discussion in the Hot Topics series. Other lectures will explore a British view on America, the law of war and China and India’s need for Colorado energy.For more information on the Vail Symposium, call 476-0954 or e-mail info@vailsymposium.org.Vail Symposium Winter Schedule

Friday and Saturday – Beaver Creek Winter Film Series at the Vilar Center for the Arts, featuring “A David Cronenberg Retrospective.” Jan. 23 – Hot Topic with Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox Jr. at the Cordillera Valley Club, discussing “Israel and Palestine: Peace or Renewed Violence.”Jan. 25 – Scottish poet Robert Burns birthday celebration at Remington’s in The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.Jan. 26 – Unlimited Adventure Series with Diane Van Deren at Donovan Park Pavilion, discussing “One Foot In Alaska.”Jan. 27 – Backyard Adventure to the International Snow Sculpture Contest in BreckenridgeJan. 30-Feb. 6 – “Exit Strategies: Orchestrating the Finale – Strategies for my Life” at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in EdwardsJan. 31 – Know Your Valley: “Safe Journey – I-70 Wildlife Overpass” discussion at Berry Creek Middle School in EdwardsFeb. 2 – Unlimited Adventure Series with Chris Anthony at Donovan Park Pavilion, discussing “Off-Road with Warren Miller”Feb. 5 – Backyard Adventure to Boulder for an art tripFeb. 9 – Unlimited Adventure Series with Matthew Cull at Donovan Park Pavilion, discussing “Full Immersion – A Bicycle Journey through Asia.”

Feb. 14 – Backyard Adventure to Maloit Park for a snowshoe hike in MinturnFeb. 1 – Cultural Arts: Author Charles J. Sanders discusses his book “The Boys of Winter” at Donovan Park PavilionFeb. 22 – Hot Topic with Sir. John Birch at the Cordillera Valley Club, discussing “Super Power but not Superman: A British view ofAmerica’s ability to run the world.”Feb. 23 – Unlimited Adventure Series with author Susan E.B. Schwartz at the Vail Library, discussing “Into the Unknown: The remarkable life of Hans Kraus.”Feb. 24 – Cultural Arts: Jazz pianist Bill Cunliffeplays and discusses “Jazz Piano: From The Brothel To the Big Stage.”Feb. 25 – Cultural Arts: Blair Oliver teaches “Take It to the Next Level – A Creative Writers Workshop” at the Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.Feb. 28 – Know Your Valley: “From Beetle Kill to Forest Health” at Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards.March 2 – Unlimited Adventure Series with Sam Lightner Jr. at Donovan Park Pavilion, discussing “Elevations Unknown – Borneo.”March 7 – Hot Topic with retired Navy Captain Lisalee Wells at the Cordillera Valley Club, discussing “The Law of War in a Shifting Battlefield.”March 9 – Unlimited Adventure Series with Jim Cole at Donovan Park Pavilion, discussing “Spirit of the Grizzly.”

March 12 – Backyard Adventure to Silver City Dog Sled Races at Camp HaleMarch 14 – Cultural Arts: Lee MacCormick Edwards, PhD, discusses “John Singer Sargent and the Power of Portraiture” in Edwards at the Cordillera Valley ClubMarch 16 – Hot Topic with Dr. Vince Matthews discussing “China and India’s Ravenous Appetite for Colorado’s Natural Resources at the Brush Creek Pavilion in EagleMarch 21 – Vail Symposium 35th Birthday PartyTBDMarch 28 – Know Your Valley: Brenda Wilmore and Dr. Jonathan G. Taylor discuss “Running from Fire?” at the Singletree Community Center in EdwardsApril 5 – Cultural Arts: Erika Ammann teaches a furniture painting workshop in the style of Bauernmalerei at Morter Architects in VailApril 22 – Second annual Vail Valley Earth Day Celebration at the Eagle-Vail PavilionArts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14640, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism