The Snow Queen of the Sport of Kings

By Sue Weakley

When polo takes to a converted, snow-covered Aspen rugby field in December, Melissa Ganzi will be perched aboard a polo pony and poised to claim another title in the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship. The first woman to win the world snow polo crown in 2016, Ganzi is a professional player and one of the top ambassadors for the game of polo, also known as the sport of kings.

She and husband Marc Ganzi, along with pro polo player and Ralph Lauren model Nacho Figueras, will co-host the final stop on the world snow polo tour for the sixth consecutive year in Aspen, Colorado, December 18-20. The tournament attracts top polo players as well as high-profile fans and celebrities from around the globe who gather in heated tents to enjoy the action. Play begins with the first round-robin match December 18 with the finals slated for December 20. A gala, appropriately named The Snow Ball, will be held at the St. Regis Hotel December 22 to benefit The Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation.

Snow polo, introduced in 1985 in St. Moritz, Switzerland, is played on a smaller field than the traditional game and features three players on a team instead of the usual four horse-and-rider combos. The ball, larger and lighter than the white one used in regular polo, is either red or purple to stand out in the winter landscape, and the horses wear special cleated shoes to improve traction.

Melissa Ganzi, the first woman to compete in the St. Moritz Snow Polo World Cup, is poised to layer up under the traditional white polo breeches and again claim victory for her team, Flexjet. She’ll go up against a host of high-profile players, including her husband, who will play on the St. Regis team, and her 20-year-old son, Grant, a member of the U.S. Polo Association team…

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