For the eleventh consecutive year, Aspen Valley Polo Club owners Melissa and Marc Ganzi hosted The St. Regis World Snow Polo Championships at Rio Grande Park earlier this month. The origins of the sport date back to 1985 when Swiss hotelier and polo visionary Reto Gaudenzi first played it on a frozen lake in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It’s continued to grow in popularity ever since, attracting thousands of spectators and top players from around the world.
A modified version of regulation polo, snow polo is played on a field of packed snow surrounded by fencing to keep the ball in play. Differences between regular and snow polo include four players for regular polo and three for snow polo; the ball is larger and lighter for snow polo and a specific color such as purple for visibility on the snowy surface; and the horses wear special cleated shoes to provide better traction.
Similarities include the fact spectators dress to the nines year-round, whether on the sidelines, in the lavish VIP tent, or on the field.
Special guests at the 2023 event included Shaun White, Nina Dobrev, Zoey Deutch, Pom Klementieff, Anna Kendrick, Ralph Lauren’s first-ever Artist in Residence Naiomi Glasses, and more. Many wore cloaks by Lindsey Thornburg, a graduate of Aspen High School, who has gone on to establish herself as a leading designer, known for collaborating with Pendleton for the past 10 years creating fashion from their blankets.
As for the champions at the event, The Casablanca Polo team led by Grant Ganzi, Nic Roldan, and Hilario Figueras took home the trophy this year, celebrating through the weekend.
Aspen Valley Polo Club has a longstanding relationship with the Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation, benefiting their programs with summer polo and snow polo.