ASPEN, Colo., November 27, 2023—The much-anticipated St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship returns to Rio Grande Park on Dec. 16-17, kicking off Aspen‘s festive and social season.
VIP tickets are on sale now for 11th annual star-studded event. Ticket information can be found at www.snowpolo.net.
Last year‘s tournament raised $100,000 from record ticket sales (doubled from 2021) and donations for the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation and Calaway-Young Cancer Center.
The event is one of the world‘s top snow polo tournaments, only snow polo tournament in North America and final stop on the World Polo Tour.
For the eleventh consecutive year, Aspen Valley Polo Club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi will host the world-class event which has joined St. Moritz as one of the world‘s top snow polo tournaments and one of Aspen‘s major international sporting events.
In a holiday setting against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains, the three-day tournament is a major attraction for fans from around the world and major allure for the Aspen community and surrounding areas.
In last year‘s thrilling finish, Blade And Bow won its first St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship. Blade And Bow (Grant Ganzi, 3, Hilario Figueras, 6, Tommy Biddle, 9) rallied from a four-goal deficit to defeat St. Regis (Melissa Ganzi, 0, Nacho Figueras, 6, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 7), 9-8, in front of a soldout VIP tent and worldwide CTV audience.
In addition to the championship final, other games at Rio Grande Park are the High Alpine Cup, Celebrity Polo and Aspen Cup final. The games are free for spectators standing around the arena. Preliminary qualifying games are Dec. 15 at Aspen Valley Polo Club‘s state-of-the-art indoor arena.
Among the player field are Nic Roldan, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Sugar Erskine, Jason Crowder and Grant Ganzi among others. The sport‘s ambassdor and St. Regis Connoisseur Nacho Figueras returns as captain of the St. Regis polo team. Figueras has played a role in the event‘s growth and development.
„To be able to play polo there with Aspen Mountain in the back is pretty special,“ Figueras said. „From a player standpoint, it keeps getting better. The players that have been coming the last few years have been amazing.“
NetJets and Edmiston return as sponsors. Casablanca is the apparel sponsor.
Other past winners are: 2021, Richard Mille (Sarah Siegel Magness, Jesse Bray, Pablo MacDonough); 2020, World Polo League (Riley Ganzi, Hilario Figueras, Alejandro Novillo Astrada); 2019, Richard Mille (Edouard Pan, Pablo MacDonough, Louis Jarrige); 2018, Richard Mille (Marc Ganzi, Martin Pepa, Pablo MacDonough); U.S. Polo Assn.; 2017, (Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan); 2016, Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Juan Bollini); 2015, U.S. Polo Assn. (Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, Juancito Bollini); 2014, Piaget (Marc Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Nic Roldan); and 2013, St. Regis (Nacho Figueras, Nic Roldan, Brandon Phillips).
From the VIP tent, guests can watch from an exclusive St. Regis alpine-inspired chalet with chandeliers fashioned from antlers and bedecked with evergreens, leather furniture and cozy fur throws. In true St. Regis spirit, guests enjoy the signature St. Regis Bloody Mary from the make-your-own Bloody Mary bar (the original drink was perfected at the King Cole Bar at The St. Regis New York in 1934).
The sport was first played on a frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland, created by Swiss hotelier and polo visionary Reto Gaudenzi in 1985 and has been growing in popularity ever since, attracting thousands of spectators and top players from around the world.
Snow polo is a modified version of regulation polo. Games are played on a snow-packed field surrounded by fencing to keep the ball in play. Teams have three players instead of four as in typical polo. Play consists of four chukkers. The horses have special cleated shoes to provide better traction. The ball is larger and lighter and a specific color for visibility on the snowy surface.
Aspen Valley Polo Club finished a successful season in club and Rocky Mountain Circuit history this past summer and is coming off an unprecedented eighth title at the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships in front of a record crowd of 12,873, the most attended polo event in the U.S. With the majestic 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club has become the world‘s destination spot for summer and snow polo.
Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi resurrected the Carbondale-based club and polo in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club‘s offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Arena & Asado Nights, Kidz Polo, Kids Wheely Polo, The Polo School headed by former 8-goaler Juan Bollini, and Polo On Demand. In addition, the club offers practice sessions for teams competing in the club tournaments.
By Sharon Robb