Top 10 Moments from Winter 2014

Top 10 Moments from Winter 2014

The Winter 2014 season has wrapped up.  The mountains are closed and the Vail Valley waits for the walls of snow that remain to melt, the grass to green, the trees to leaf, the rivers to swell and, of course, the Vail Symposium Summer 2014 programs!

But before we announce our summer schedule, we thought we would have a look back at the top 10 moments from our Winter 2014 season.

10. David Rubenstein on international private equity

We found out the capacity of the Grandview. Not just what is recommended, but literally how many people you can physically fit in that room. Scheduled between Christmas and New Years, when the town is packed, the event sold out. Rubenstein was magical on the microphone, and broke down the complex world of international private equity in simple terms for a very interested audience.

9. Marketing Colorado

The small crowd that gathered up in Cordillera was treated to an intimate discussion (often forming itself into a debate) with three marketing experts from the Front Range. The experts weren’t safe from any topic – education, i70, manufacturing and more were all up for discussion.

8. Jim Davis

He might have been the toughest man to speak for the Vail Symposium all winter, if not ever. Jim Davis captivated the crowd with his stories from a 26-year long career with the FBI, as well as his tenure as Governor John Hickenlooper’s Homeland Security Advisor. With no microphone, he took questions from fired up young people about NSA practices, explained how he brought down a homegrown terrorist, and just why we continue to monitor the phones of various world leaders.

7. Barney Frank and Dodd-Frank

With nothing but a chair, microphone and 30+ years of political experience, Barney Frank explained how he guided one of the most expensive, yet necessary (his words not ours), pieces of legislation. He then let off a barrage of answers to questions asked by the audience. Nothing was off limits.

6. Dr. Jane Katra’s experiential exercise

Nestled into the comfortable conference room of the Cordillera Valley Club, Dr. Jane Katra led a long lecture about how humans experience the world through consciousness, and how we can manipulate our energy fields to better our well being. Beyond a lecture, she led a group through an exercise that amped up their subtle energy fields giving each person practices they could take away.

5. Any Program held at the Timber Hearth in Cordillera

Cordillera has become one of the Symposium’s preferred venues with audience members suggesting we do more and more programs at the private golf community. With world-renowned speakers on the stage, world-class views out the window, and delicious food on the table during the reception, what wasn’t to love?

4. Dr. Raymond Moody

The philosophers take on near-death experiences offered a unique perspective to how we think about time, consciousness and the life we live everyday. Dr. Moody explained consciousness from this perspective, opening up an entirely different way of thinking for the audience.  In philosophical fashion, many left with more questions than answers, which is a good thing according Dr. Moody.

3. Ellen Miller and Eric Alexander

The crowd held their breath as Eric Alexander showed a video of himself leading the first blind man to ever summit Mount Everest across a deep crevasse on a rickety aluminum latter. Ellen Miller told her story of being the first woman to complete the Everest Trio, finishing the last peak on an artificial hip. The evening was Unlimited Adventure at its best with the thrills of high-altitude mountaineering being brought to the room at the Beaver Creek Club.


2. The Great Debate of Winter 2014

Dr. Gregory Stock and Jeffrey Smith, who stand in opposition on the health and ethics of genetically modified organisms, might not have cared if there was an audience. The two went back in forth in raw, unfiltered fashion debating GMOs. They brought up new points while holding each other accountable for every word.  Folks in the valley were talking about the debate and the topic for the rest of the winter.


1. Dr. Eben Alexander sells out Donovan

We nearly took out ads in the newspaper to tell people to stop calling in. Dr. Eben Alexander sold out the Donovan Pavilion with nearly 300 attendees four days before the program. The best-selling author spoke on his near-death experience and told a tale that millions have read in his book, “Proof of Heaven.” It is a joy to bring in speakers of this caliber and offer the audience in Vail such an up-close experience with a world-leader on this topic.

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