Joe Kaiser, Sports Editor
It has been said that winter is the season of the rich, and it is not too hard to imagine why that saying is correct. Winter sports tend to be more expensive, due to equipment and other nonsense like lift tickets and hot chocolate. In 1985, however, some Swiss citizens were tired of paying so little to have fun in the snow. These innovators in turn created snow polo, thus combining two passions of the 1 percent: winter sport and horses.
But how is polo even played? Each team consists of four riders and their mounts. Each member has a specific role as well. Rider One is offense oriented and Rider Two is focused on playing against the opponent’s best player while trying either to score himself or give an assist to Rider One. Rider Three is the “team captain.” Usually the best member of the team, this rider needs to feed the ball to One and Two and be able to play solid defense. Rider Four is the defensive specialist and allows Rider Three to play more offense. Also, all riders must play with their right hand. The objective is to hit the ball into the opponent’s goal. While this may seem quite straightforward, the riders also need to control their mounts to jockey for position.
In the United States, snow polo is only played in Aspen, a place where the beer flows like wine. In 2011, the Audi Polo Team won the championship, beating out Team Ciroc. Internationally, there is a Snow Polo World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the birthplace of the sport. As with the Aspen Cup, the team sponsors are mostly luxury goods producers (BMW, Ralph Lauren, Cartier). The last cup match saw France grabbing first, followed by Great Britain, Switzerland and Germany respectively.