GRIT & GLAMOUR
2018 WORLD SNOW POLO CHAMPIONSHIP
By Tara | Aspen, Co
The World Snow Polo Championship may just be the perfect kick-off to social season.
It’s no secret that every Winter the glitterati make their seasonal migration to this famous little mountain town. Celebrities flock to the designer store-lined streets and majestic slopes beckon avid skiers, but for the last six years, there’s been another event drawing in the well-heeled jet-setters.
From grit to glamour, Aspen’s annual Snow Polo Championship is as much an adrenaline-filled sporting event as it is a highly-anticipated social occasion. It’s the only event of it’s kind to take place in North America. Each year Aspen Valley Polo Club owners, Marc and Melissa Ganzi, host the star-studded event in hopes to give back to the community. This year’s event, including the inaugural Snow Polo Gala, serves as a fundraiser for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.
Last Wednesday, Rio Grande Park once again welcomed fur-clad spectators and equestrian enthusiasts to take in some polo action. VIP guests descended a long, tree-lined runway that led them inside a beautifully decorated marquee tent. Once inside, it was no wonder the Ganzi’s have made the Salonniere 100 List as the nation’s best party hosts for the last two years. In between sipping hot toddies courtesy of Blade & Bow and grabbing bites to eat from the raw bar, the crowd cheered on their favorite teams.
The excitement from the never-dull VIP tent only continued out on the snow-covered field. Snow polo is a modified version of the traditional game, but don’t be fooled. Although played in a smaller field and with three players to a team (opposed to the usual four), snow polo is no less intense than the sport’s full version. Thundering ponies, enthusiastic announcers, and competitive players offered a thrilling spectacle for those on the sidelines. This year’s lineup proved impressive with some of the world’s top players. Coming off the Argentine Open, Pablo MacDonough made his Aspen Snow Polo debut with the Richard Mille polo team. Gonzalito Pieres, also coming off the Argentine Open, as well as 8-goalers Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan took to the field. Nacho Figueras also joined the competition, alongside son Hilario Figueras, with team St. Regis.
Momentum followed on the last day of the tournament as the finals commenced. In the end, Team Richard Mille proved victorious, defeating Team Flexjet 6-5, but the party had just begun. Awards were presented and the fun continued with music, bubbly, and h’ordeuvres.
Aspen Snow Polo is the final stop on the 2018 World Polo Tour. Every year it draws in crowds from around the world but it also carries major allure from the local community. The highly anticipated social event can expect another sell-out crowd for 2019. So if you’re in Aspen next year, consider looking beyond the slopes for some action-packed excitement. Will you be attending next Winter’s World Snow Polo Championship?