A Who’s Who in polo will compete in the much-anticipated Dec. 17-22 St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship. Argentine 10-goalers Pablo MacDonough and Gonzalito Pieres and 8-goalers Alejandro Novillo Astrada and Nic Roldan head a star-studded field for three days of exciting polo action at Aspen Valley Polo Club and Rio Grande Park.
MacDonough, currently competing in the Argentine Open with favorite La Dolfina, will make his Aspen snow polo debut with the Richard Mille Polo Team. Mille is the official timekeeper for the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship. Mille created the RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo MacDonough for its Brand Ambassador.
Pieres, also competing in the Argentine Open with Ellerstina and brothers Facundo and Nico Pieres and cousin Polito Pieres, has played every major tournament in the world several times including the Argentine Open, British Open and U.S. Open. He was a member of the 2009 U.S. Open team with his brothers and Marc Ganzi.
Alejandro Novillo Astrada is a fourth generation player. He teamed with Melissa Ganzi and Juan Bollini to win back-to-back United States Arena Handicap tournament titles in 2017 and 2018 and was tournament MVP in 2017. He was MVP at the 2018 Bendura Bank Snow Polo World Cup Kitzbuhel which his team won. He was also a member of the 2016 Flexjet team that won the St. Regis Snow World Polo title. Roldan is coming off the fall season in Argentina where he played for La Albertina Abu Dhabi. He is the youngest player ever to win the U.S. Open at age 15 in 1998 with Escue. The third generation polo player is one of America’s top players and has competed in most of the sport’s U.S. and international polo tournaments.
Last year’s champion U.S. Polo Assn. with Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini and Nic Roldan will return to defend its title. Ganzi is a member of Team USPA and Bollini is a Brand Ambassador for U.S. Polo Assn. and newly-minted U.S. citizen. It will be Bollini’s first tournament as an American citizen. In addition to being the title sponsor, St. Regis will return as a team sponsor with team captain Nacho Figueras, the sport’s ambassador and face of Ralph Lauren playing with his son Hilario and Julio Gracida, son of Hall of Famer and former 10-goaler Memo Gracida.
In the U.S., snow polo is held exclusively in Aspen. With the breathtaking 12,965-foot summit of Mount Sopris as a backdrop, Aspen Valley Polo Club is one of the busiest and fastest growing USPA-sanctioned clubs in the nation with a membership increase of 75 percent over five seasons. Since Marc and Melissa Ganzi founded the club in 2014, polo has increased in popularity in Aspen and surrounding cities with the club’s offerings of various weekly grass and arena tournaments, Gladiator Tuesdays and Asado, Kids Polo, The Polo School and Polo On Demand. All ages are welcome to enjoy polo at Aspen Valley Polo Club. Admission, food and refreshments are free for fans in a relaxed, laidback atmosphere.
By Sharon Robb
Teams St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship, Aspen:
Marc Ganzi, Martin Pepa, Pablo MacDonough.
Melissa Ganzi, Juan Bollini, Alejandro Novillo Astrada.
Hilario Figueras, Julio Gracida, Nacho Figueras.
U.S. Polo Assn.
Grant Ganzi, Juancito Bollini, Nic Roldan.
Aspen Valley Polo Club
Sarah Magness, Jason Crowder, Jesse Bray.
Blade & Bow
Brian Boyd, Carlitos Gracida, Gonzalito Pieres.