SnowCon is an informal conference of snow sports, lectures, relaxation, 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 2015 was a success, with 14 attendees enjoying enjoying snow sports, fantastic discussions, and good fun in the Colorado Rockies. Many thanks to everyone who made this SnowCon possible and fabulous!

Below is the information on SnowCon 2015 posted before the event.

About SnowCon 2015

I'm pleased to announce SnowCon 2015 – six days of snow sports, relaxation, discussion, and lectures in the snowy Colorado Rockies! SnowCon will be held from Tuesday, March 17th to Sunday, March 22th, based entirely in Frisco, Colorado.

During the day, we'll ski, snowboard, snowshoe, soak in the hot tub, chat, and relax. In the evenings, we'll dine together, play games, and listen to lectures, participate in discussions, and more.

If you might attend SnowCon 2015, subscribe to the SnowCon e-mail list for SnowCon-related announcements.


Registration

Registration for SnowCon 2015 is now closed.


Schedule

SnowCon 2015 will be mostly informal, with people welcome to participate as much or as little as they like. The central hub of SnowCon will be the SnowCondo at 650 Belford, Frisco, CO 80443.

Skiers and snowboarders will meet up on the slopes of Breckenridge and/or Keystone around 9:00 am on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We'll spend a day at Beaver Creek or Vail too. Paul Hsieh will be snowshoeing (which takes five minutes to learn) and others are welcome to join him.

In the evenings, we'll split out time between food for the body (dinner), food for the mind (discussions and lectures), and food for the soul (fun and games).

Tuesday, March 17th

Some of us will drive to the mountains on Tuesday morning to ski and snowboard before the condo opens.

Wednesday, March 18th

Thursday, March 19th

Friday, March 20th

Saturday, March 21st

Sunday, March 22nd

The check-out time for the condo is 10 am sharp. Paul Hsieh will organize the check-out. Anyone with a later flight is welcome to gather at Paul's and my home at 6586 Rainbow Creek Rd, Sedalia, Colorado 80135 on Sunday afternoon and evening. Please coordinate your arrival with Paul.


Lectures

Thursday Evening

"Breakthroughs in Game Design" by Chris Land

Games have been played for thousands of years. The rules of a game shape how it is played and the type of enjoyment one gets from playing it. The past four decades have seen whole new categories of games (tabletop, collectible-card, arcade games, first-person shooter, real-time strategy, massive multiplayer online, casual apps) that simply didn't exist before. Coupled with these have been many revolutionary game mechanics. This talk will take a look at the most prominent of these mechanics, the effect these have on gameplay and on the gaming universe.

Like many people, Chris Land hails originally from planet Earth. For his day job, he builds displays for the astronauts onboard the International Space Station. He lives in Houston with wife Lisa and children Alex and Athena.

"The Pelagian Heresy in Early Christianity and the Doomed Battle Against Original Sin" by Karl Goetze

As Objectivists we understand that ideas move history and that intellectual battles won now reverberate into the future, providing foundations for the values which will characterize our coming culture. In general, we are well aware of the history of ideas in the west and their effects on culture – from the esteemed appreciation of human thought, form and achievement and the “this-world” focus of ancient Greece and Rome, to the complete abnegation of these values as Christianity took hold in the west, to the renaissance of these values, over which intellectuals still struggle. Most are aware that it was Augustine of Hippo who dominated early Christian thought and set the tone for the values that would dominate the middle ages. Perhaps less well known though are some of the particular battles in which Augustine participated and conquered. Most of these are not of particular importance to Objectivists as they amount to arguments over one particular variety of irrationalism which was to be preferred to another (donatism, gnosticism, manichaeism, etc.). One however, the Pelagian heresy, though little known and not often discussed, nevertheless dealt with a most profound aspect of humanity – are we evil by nature, or does man, as Ayn Rand said, possess a self-made soul? The bishop Pelagius argued the latter and through his chief acolyte Julian of Eclanum, sought to make orthodox the idea that one might attain salvation through the actions and choices he himself made during life. Augustine, with good reason, saw this as a particularly pernicious heresy and, after a great long-distance debate between himself and Julian, was ultimately able to defeat the Pelagians and weave original sin into the very fabric of Christian theology. During this talk, I’ll introduce you to Pelagius and Julian and what we know about the Pelagian movement itself. I’ll discuss the actual argument with Augustine and highlight how it was conducted, the points made on both sides, and the ultimate defeat of Pelagianism by Augustine. It should also be fun to consider the ramifications of what might have been if Pelagius and Julian had won.

After a twenty year career in the United States Air Force where he worked on telemetry electronics in the research and development of spacecraft and weapon systems, Karl Goetze retired and spent the next ten years studying classics. He has a B.A and M.A. in classical philology from the University of Illinois where the focus of his study and research was the rise of Christianity in late antiquity as well as Latin and Greek instruction. Karl is currently working as a private teacher and tutor of Latin and ancient Greek, working mostly online with students all over the world.

Friday Evening

"Living with a Value-Orientation" by Ash Ryan and Jan Walker

Ayn Rand held that we should have what she termed a "value-orientation": the idea that achieving the good is of primary importance, while combating the bad is only derivatively worthwhile insofar as it is necessary for protecting one's positive values. Most Objectivists would probably agree with that on an abstract level, but do their concrete daily actions actually reflect their hierarchy of values in that regard? Or is our orientation tilted too heavily toward the negative side, which can make us tend to reactively focus on everything that's wrong in the world rather than to proactively focus on value creation and achievement? This presentation will explore how we can be valuers in the fullest sense by thoroughly understanding and living by Ayn Rand's idea of value orientation, which we will flesh out through a comparison to several similar views from a variety of fields and perspectives, from business to history to psychology and beyond.

Ash Ryan and Jan Walker each hold Bachelor's degrees from the University of Utah, in Philosophy and Exercise Physiology respectively. The past several years of dealing with debilitating medical issues have given them a hard-won appreciation of what truly matters in life. They are currently taking the first steps toward their own startup venture focused on the power of integration.

Saturday Evening

"How Do You Know If Your Doctor Is Any Good?" by Paul Hsieh, MD

How do you know if your doctor is giving you the best medical advice possible? Or offering the right care for your condition? Most patients lack the professional training to judge a doctor's qualifications, so they must rely on various proxy measures, such as referrals from other doctors, recommendations from friends, government ratings, and online reviews. We'll discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of these measures as well as steps patients can take to ensure they're receiving the best care possible.

Paul Hsieh, MD, is a physician in private practice in the south Denver metro area. He received his MD from University of Michigan, and completed residency training at Washington University School of Medicine with additional fellowship training at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He writes extensively about health care policy from a free market perspective for Forbes and PJ Media.


Resources

You can find lodging in Frisco via VRBO, Trip Advisor, 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're interested in lodging in the SnowCondo, please email me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

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.

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


Questions?

If you have any questions, please email me, Diana Brickell, at diana@dianahsieh.com.


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