Aspen’s snow polo event likely moving back to Wagner Park after years at Rio Grande

This year’s annual snow polo tournament in Aspen is most likely going back to its old stomping grounds at Wagner Park.

During a more than six-hour work session Monday night that included looking at winter issues, concerns and potential events, the Aspen City Council mostly liked the request by organizers to return the World Snow Polo Championship to the park in the center of town for just one year. The request was also supported by city staff.

The championship, held in December, is put on by the Aspen Valley Polo Club and draws some of the world’s greatest polo players each year.

Council brought up concerns Monday night about the after-effects to the turf in Wagner Park, but otherwise felt the move was fine. Organizers will be responsible to repair any damage to the field.

The event was previously held at Wagner Park, which is closer to its title sponsor The St. Regis, and was moved by the city to Rio Grande Park in 2014. The event also has been held at the Cozy Point Ranch at the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road in the 1990s.

Nancy Lesley, the director of special events and marketing for the city of Aspen, brought the proposal to the council Monday night to gauge their interest in the move.

Mayor Torre and Councilor Rachel Richards said they are fine with it at either place, while Councilor Ward Hauenstein is for the switch as is Ann Mullins. Skippy Mesirow said he prefers the event to stay at Rio Grande.

The event, which will be televised, currently will be capped at 50 people but the capacity could be amended to match whatever the Pitkin County Public Health order is at the time the event is scheduled, Dec. 18-19, Lesley said.

She said the snowmaking required to do the event is easier to achieve at Wagner Park than Rio Grande because of the access to water. The snowmaking will happen as long as the city’s water department says there is enough water supply to do so.

“With this crazy year, it would be wonderful to have that event at Wagner Park for this one year,” Lesley told council, and later added, “it would great to put a win in the column for a traditional event happening before the end of the year.”

*U.S. Polo Assn., in orange, and Richard Mille play in the final game at Rio Grande Park during the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship in Aspen on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

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