By Arianna Delin, Sharon Robb for Aspen Valley Polo Club
Nacho Figueras not only plays polo around the world but promotes it.
His passion for the sport is giving people a new perspective of polo. If the Argentine has anything to say about it, he would like polo, known as the sport of kings, to be known today as the sport of masses.
Figueras, polo ambassador and St. Regis Connoisseur, along with Aspen Valley Polo Club co-founders Marc and Melissa Ganzi, will host the Dec. 17-19 St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship for the third consecutive year. It is the final stop on the World Polo Tour.
Figueras, 38, is one of the sport’s most popular and well-recognized players in the world. Named Sentebale Ambassador by Prince Harry and face of the Ralph Lauren Polo brand, Figueras uses his celebrity status to work tirelessly to erase the sport’s elitist image.
Figueras, a father of four, is on the road seven months a year playing and generating a greater awareness of the sport at the grass roots level.
“One of my missions in life is to bring polo to the world, to give people more of an idea of what it is all about,” Figueras said. “I want to raise awareness of the sport I fell in love with at an early age.”
The sport is becoming accessible and affordable attracting men, women and children of all ages. Arena polo has also helped the sport grow. A team consists of three players, compared with four for outdoor polo.
For the entry level player, the cost of playing polo today is basically no higher than a golf club or tennis membership.
Figueras’ latest venture is a series of Romance novels with longtime friend Luke Janklow. The novels feature polo set mostly in Florida in the storylines. It will be launched by Forever Romance beginning in May 2016 with the first novel, Nacho Figueras presents High Season.
“I really hope that more people will get to love polo as much as I do,’ Figueras said. “There is something very sexy about a man and a horse, the speed and the adrenaline. It’s very appealing for women, that’s a fact.”
Figueras and tournament’s other players will be introduced during the tournament draw Wednesday evening at The St. Regis Aspen Resort.
Figueras’ St. Regis teammates are Brian Boyd and Carlitos Gracida, oldest son of polo great Carlos Gracida.
Returning sponsors Audi, Flexjet and US Polo Assn. along with new sponsors One Caribbean Estates and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. join St. Regis Hotels & Resorts as major sponsors of North America’s only snow polo tournament.
First round games, sponsored by La Patrona Polo & Equestrian Club, are Thursday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. MST at Aspen Valley Polo Club Arena in Carbondale. On Friday and Saturday, the action moves to Rio Grande Park near downtown Aspen. On Friday, playoff games for fifth and sixth places are scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. On Saturday, fans will get the chance to meet Figueras and other players at noon before the final and subsidiary games along with the trophy presentation are held 1-4 p.m.
ChukkerTV, worldwide leaders in polo broadcasting, will live stream the entire tournament. It is the first time the much-anticipated tournament will be live streamed in its entirety and exclusively by ChukkerTV.
All proceeds benefit Sopris Therapy Services and Aspen Sister Cities.
For tickets and more information, go to www.worldsnowpolo.net.