The St Regis Snow Polo World Championship in Aspen - Aspen Real Life

The St Regis Snow Polo World Championship in Aspen

[su_heading]The St Regis Snow Polo World Championship in Aspen[/su_heading]

At this time of year, with winter storm warning alerts pinging my phone almost every week, Aspen is a winter wonderland and town is lit up, both by the twinkly lights in the trees and the beautiful people who are jetting in to celebrate the holidays, and since I have been inflicted with this rare disease called, “Bubbly on the brain,”  I have made a pact with myself to get out there and experience life in Aspen over the holidays and just say YES to everything I get invited to — and oh baby saying yes goes far in this town, and it’s only just the beginning.

Bubbly fever hit hard after skiing pillows on a double date in Snowmass in the 17 inches of new snow. After a day like that you can’t just go home, and so the temperature continued to rise at an exclusive wine tasting with Palladium Properties and Perluigi Giachi, the owner of the Tuscan winery, Tenuta Torchiano. The event was held in an intimate setting in The Residences at The Little Nell, the perfect place to get better acquainted with Perluigi, the brokers of Palladium, and all their guests, all while drinking Peruigi’s delicious wine. Keep your eye on this Aspen Real Estate firm, they have it going on.

The adventure continued by going VIP to the St Regis Snow Polo World Championship in the Rio Grande Park December 18th and 19th. The St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hospitality brand, were the official sponsor of the 2015 St. Regis World Snow Polo Championships, a glamorous high-goal tournament, hosted by the Aspen Valley Polo Club.

Melissa and Marc Ganzi, co-founders of Aspen Valley Polo Club, along with celebrated polo ambassador and St. Regis Connoisseur, Nacho Figueras, were hosts of one of the world’s top snow polo tournaments and final stop on the World Polo Tour for the third consecutive year. The three-day polo extravaganza attracted sponsors, players and fans from around the world and endless praise for the Ganzis, organizers of the event.  Returning sponsors Audi, Flexjet and U.S. Polo Assn., along with new sponsors One Sandy Lane and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., joined St. Regis Hotels & Resorts as major sponsors of North America’s only snow polo tournament.

[su_quote cite=”St. Regis’ Brian Boyd”]Marc and Melissa go over the top to make this a world-class event. [/su_quote]

[su_quote cite=”Nacho Figueras”]I am so excited to captain the St. Regis Snow Polo team for the second year. Aspen is one of my favorite places to play, and I am thrilled to be back for the 2015 St. Regis World Snow Polo Championships. [/su_quote]

Aspen, Colorado is a good place to be if you enjoy learning about different cultures and making new friends, and that is why I love living in this town. Not having the means to leave here, it is convenient to just hang back and let all the cool people and cultures come to me – and then take a snow dive into the scene — and if you weed out those who prefer to be seen than make good conversation, you will be completely invigorated by the energy of these guests coming to town.

[su_heading]St. Regis Polo History[/su_heading]

The St. Regis brand has long been associated with the sport of polo and the lifestyle that surrounds it, beginning at the turn of century. Then spirited polo matches between army officers played on Manhattan’s Governors Island were the highlight of the New York summer social calendar, and St. Regis’ founding family, the Astors, were pre-eminent patrons of the sport.

[su_heading]The St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship[/su_heading]

Playing near-perfect polo, the U.S. Polo Assn. won the coveted St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship Saturday at Rio Grande Park. In front of an overflow crowd including a sold out VIP tent, Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini and Nic Roldan turned in one of the most outstanding championship game performances in tournament history for an impressive 10-5 victory over Flexjet.

On a picture-perfect day with majestic snow-capped mountains as a backdrop, the trio jumped out to a 4-1 advantage in the opening chukker and never relinquished the lead to Flexjet (Melissa Ganzi, Jeff Hall, Juan Bollini).

Roldan, making his third consecutive finals appearance, was named Most Valuable Player for the third straight year. The nine-goaler scored a game-high four goals and dazzled the crowd with his booming hits and bouncing the ball on his mallet and out of the air.

[su_quote cite=”Nic Roldan”]The three of us all contributed. The footing was great. It was a perfect day. The other team was tough to play against. I had two little assassins up front that let me sit in the back and not do that much.[/su_quote]

Halo Polo’s 9-year-old Bay stallion Open Quarzo, ridden and owned by Melissa Ganzi, was selected Best Playing Pony for the second time in three years at the snow polo event.

The championship pitted mother against son, Melissa and Grant Ganzi, father against son, Juan and Juancito Bollini and former Piaget teammates Jeff Hall and Roldan.

“They were a hell of a team, a very tough team,” said Juan Bollini, who sustained a shoulder injury after getting hit with a mallet early in the second chukker but was able to remain in the game (You can watch it all on “Granti, Juancito and Nic have been playing together for so many years they know each other. They had the best day.”

MVP Nic Roldan with Aspen Valley Polo Club owner Marc Ganzi. Photo by Nick Tininenko
MVP Nic Roldan with Aspen Valley Polo Club owner Marc Ganzi.
Photo by Nick Tininenko

The U.S. Polo Assn. was the strongest team with the most chemistry throughout the three-day, six-team tournament. In one of the most competitive round robin doubleheaders in tournament historyon Thursday, U.S. Polo Assn. knocked off pre-tournament favorite Audi, 7-5, and ChukkerTV, 10-5.

In the consolation game, first-year snow polo team ChukkerTV (Mariano Gracida, Bernie Uechtritz, Martin Pepa) defeated St. Regis (Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Nacho Figueras), 6.5-5. Figueras scored a game-high three goals, all in the first chukker.

*Snow polo was first introduced in 1985 at the resort town of St. Moritz, Switzerland and attracted several hun  dred spectators. In the U.S., snow polo is held exclusively in Aspen, Colorado. Snow polo is a modified version of 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 arena polo. Play consists of four seven-minute chukkers. The horses have special cleated shoes to provide better traction. The ball is larger and lighter and bright orange or red for visibility on the snowy surface.

**All proceeds benefit Sopris Therapy Services and Aspen Sister Cities. Sopris Therapy Services is a non-profit organization that provides Equine Assisted Therapy and rehabilitation in a ranch-setting to children and adults with various disabilities.

Aspen Sister Cities’ mission is to share ideas and cultures through the international exchange of students and community members from Aspen and its respective sister cities.

***Be a part of the celebration on New Year’s Eve at “the most exclusive party in Aspen,”: Midnight Masquerade Ball, hosted by Nacho Figueras, Susan Sarandon, Paul Haggis, and others, with a four-course culinary experience by CHEF’S CLUB by FOOD&WINE, Billecart-Salmon Champagne, open bar, and an unforgettable musical performance by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler & Régine Chassagne. Proceeds support non-profit organization Artists for Peace and Justice, and tickets are tax deductible. For younger guests, the resort offers sleigh rides with Santa Claus, cookie, stocking and ornament decorating, and a special reading of ’T’was The Night Before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve.

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