SnowCon is an informal conference of snow sports, lectures, and socializing for fans of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, held every year in March in Colorado. For announcements about future SnowCons, subscribe to the low-volume SnowCon Email List.

SnowCon 2012 was a success – with 25 attendees enjoying fantastic lectures and tons of fun in Frisco, Colorado. Many thanks to everyone who made this SnowCon possible and fabulous! For my report on SnowCon 2012, read this blog post: Report on SnowCon 2012.

Below is the information on SnowCon 2012 posted before the event.

About SnowCon 2012

In conjunction with Front Range Objectivism, I'm pleased to announce SnowCon 2012 – a long weekend of snow sports, informal lectures, and discussion in the snowy Colorado Rockies! SnowCon will be held from Thursday, March 15th to Sunday, March 18th, entirely in Frisco, Colorado. It costs only $25.

During the day, we'll be skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hot tubbing, chatting, and relaxing. In the evenings, we'll have short lectures and discussions after dinner at a condo in Frisco (683 Bills Ranch Rd).


Registration for SnowCon 2012 is now closed.

SnowCon welcomes all friendly people with a serious interest in or honest curiosity about Ayn Rand's philosophy, regardless of their level of knowledge. Every person at SnowCon is expected to be respectful and considerate of others.

SnowCon costs $25. SnowCon attendees are responsible for all of their expenses, including as lodging, transportation, meals, and equipment rentals.

You can pay for SnowCon instantly via PayPal to If you would prefer to send a check or money order, please make it out to "Diana Brickell" and write "SnowCon" in the memo field. Then mail it to "Diana Brickell; P.O. Box 851; Sedalia, CO 80135."

Everyone attending SnowCon 2012 should subscribe to the SnowCon e-mail list for SnowCon-related announcements.


SnowCon 2012 will be mostly informal, with people welcome to participate as much or as little as they like.

Skiers and snowboarders will meet up on the slopes of Breckenridge and/or Keystone around 9:00 am on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We might also spend a day at Beaver Creek or Vail. Paul Hsieh will be snowshoeing during the weekend days, and attendees are welcome to join him.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, the lectures and discussions will be held from approximately 7 to 9 pm.

Thursday Evening Presentation

"Four Questions for Philosophy in Action" by Diana Brickell

On Sunday morning, Diana Brickell will answer four questions on practical philosophy in her live Philosophy in Action Webcast. Here, we will answer those questions in informal and friendly discussion – not merely to better understand the particular topics but also to clarify ways to think through such problems in a principled way while respecting differences in context and values.

Diana Brickell received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Colorado in 2009. Every Sunday morning, she answers questions on the application of rational philosophic principles to the challenges of living a happy and virtuous life in her live Philosophy In Action Webcast.

Friday Evening Presentations

"Our Secular Constitution" by Hannah Krening

This short presentation considers the Constitution's provisions for the proper relationship between religion and government. Currently, we see the rise of Islam, a religion that explicitly advocates a government of Islamic law and forceful dominion over all people. How does this square with our Constitution? What lessons can Americans, as followers of various belief systems – religious or not – learn from the founders? How is the wisdom of our founders still applicable today, and what can we do to fight an American theocracy, whether Islamic or of any other religion? (This talk is based on the book The Godless Constitution by Isaac Kramnick and R Lawrence Moore.)

Hannah Krening is a classical pianist and private teacher. She lives with her husband in Larkspur, Colorado and is active in Front Range Objectivism. Though she is not an expert on the Constitution, it is an area of interest to her, especially in light of the current cultural understanding of the Constitution on separation of Church and State.

"The Mortal Flaw in the U.S. Constitution, It Isn't What You Think and It Can Be Healed" by Stephen Bailey

Ayn Rand highlighted the omission of the separation of state and economy as a serious flaw in the U.S. Constitution, when Judge Narragansett in Atlas Shrugged penned his addition to the Bill of Rights, "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade." Although the importance of separating the state from the economy is obvious for any Objectivist, can anyone honestly conclude that we would not be teetering on the edge of pure socialism, if not absolute tyranny, had Madison and the Founding Fathers included that amendment in the Bill of Rights? Today, various groups advocate for constitutional amendments ranging from the reasonable – balanced budget – to the bizarrely irrelevant – protecting the reference to God in the pledge of allegiance – to the tyrannical – overthrowing the Citizens United ruling which protects freedom of speech. All of these proposed amendments, including the reasonable, are a waste of time unless the fundamental flaw is fixed. The conceptual remedy to this flaw is implicit within the Constitution and its guiding light, the Declaration of Independence. The case will be made for a proposed amendment to the Constitution making explicit what is argued by some as an implicit check on power and innovates its application to make it effective. Most importantly, adoption of the proposed amendment would heal our Constitution and peaceably restore our liberty, if the U.S. remains worthy of saving. It is indispensable to the constitution of any free society.

Stephen Bailey was the Republican candidate to represent Colorado's 2nd congressional district in 2010. Since November of 2010, Stephen has been analyzing the U.S. Constitution, contemplating its flaws and searching for a path to a restoration of individual rights and personal liberty.

"The Dilemma of the 2012 Election" by Ari Armstrong and Diana Brickell

The 2012 election offers Americans particularly terrible choices for U.S. President – the egalitarian appeaser Barack Obama, the pragmatist socialist-lite Mitt Romney, the big-government theocrat Rick Santorum, the neoconfederate anti-American Ron Paul, the grand-schemer Newt Gingrich, and the better Gary Johnson running under the ugly banner of the Libertarian Party. What's a defender of individual rights to do? Do any of these candidates deserve your vote and support? More broadly, what does the future hold for liberty in America? What are the major threats on the horizon? What can we do to fight for liberty in the next four years? Ari and Diana will discuss and debate these questions, outlining their views and inviting the audience to offer their own opinions.

Diana Brickell and Ari Armstrong often collaborate in their political activism, particularly in defense of abortion rights. They co-authored a policy paper in 2010 entitled The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life. More recently, their 2011 article The Assault on Abortion Rights Undermines All Our Liberties was published in The Objective Standard. (Also, see Diana Brickell's individual bio above and Ari Armstrong's individual bio below.)

Saturday Evening Presentations

"The Final Abolitionist Frontier" by Anders Ingemarson

The 19th century abolitionist movement resulted in the emancipation of slaves. 150 years later, have we reached the final abolitionist frontier, the emancipation of the individual from the collective? In this talk, Anders Ingemarson will discuss a few similarities and differences between the events leading up to the ending of slavery and today.

Anders Ingemarson is an American by choice living in Denver with his wife Maria and Mitsie, the cat. He is a systems analyst by profession and individual rights activist in his spare time.

"Maintaining Rational Optimism" by Paul Hsieh

Given the state of current American culture and politics, it's very easy to become pessimistic about the future. What are some methods we can adopt to maintain rational optimism, without falling into either error of undue pessimism or of wishful Pollyannaism? Given the current cultural/political context, how can we best preserve our long-term emotional health and maintain "the courage to face a lifetime"? Participants will be encouraged to share their own personal strategies and techniques, so that we can all incorporate the best of each others' ideas into our own lives.

Paul Hsieh has engaged in personal activism on health care and other issues for many years, in large part as a method of maintaining his rational optimism.

"The Meaning of 'Life'" by Ari Armstrong

For many years I was confused about Rand's claim that "an organism's life is its standard of value." How, I wondered, does that fit with end-of-life suicide, risking one's life for loved ones (as John Galt does), or even spending resources to have children? I tentatively propose that the answer lies in properly understanding the meaning of one's "life." One lives life not as an abstraction, but as a particular living entity with a particular nature and a unique genetic inheritance and history. I think the key to understanding the meaning of "life" is to look at the chronological (and logical) progression from valuing things as a child to developing rational moral principles. Thus, while "The Objectivist Ethics" offers a highly condensed and abstract presentation of Rand's ethics, here I'll attempt to follow the inductive path that allowed her to reach her conclusions (drawing in some modern findings of biology along the way). Rather than offer definitive conclusions – which I do not yet have – my goal is to generate discussion and solicit feedback in the hopes of further pursuing this line of thinking in the future.

Ari Armstrong publishes, coauthors a column for Grand Junction Free Press, and contributes to The Objective Standard. He is also the author of Values of Harry Potter. Ari won the Modern Day Sam Adams award in 2009, and he was a finalist in the 2011 Hoiles Prize for regional journalism.


You can find lodging in Frisco via VRBO or your favorite travel site. If you'd like to coordinate lodging, transportation, or meals with others, please use the SnowCon e-mail list.

If you plan to ski or snowboard, you should buy your lift tickets online at least a week in advance to get the cheapest prices. Diana (and maybe others) can offer some discounted left tickets via her Epic Local Pass.

For equipment rentals, I've used Carver's happily, but you can choose from many local sport shops.


If you have any questions, please email me, Diana Brickell, at

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