U.S. Polo Assn., Flexjet to meet in 2016 World Snow Polo Championship final | AspenTimes.com

U.S. Polo Assn., Flexjet to meet in 2016 World Snow Polo Championship final

U.S. Polo Assn. player Ricky Cooper celebrates Saturday after beating Audi's Grant Ganzi in a shootout to advance to Sunday's final match of the 2016 World Snow Polo Championships, held at Rio Grande Park in Aspen. The shootout was needed after the semifinal games were called off due to there being too much snow on the field for safe play. It's expected games will go on as planned Sunday, with U.S. Polo Assn. set to face Flexjet in the 1 p.m. championship game. St. Regis and Audi will play in the third-place game at 2:30 p.m.

While Saturday was one to remember for skiers and snowboarders, Mother Nature's wintry gift wasn't well received by the local polo community.

The 2016 World Snow Polo Championship was set to get underway Saturday with the semifinal rounds, but nearly two feet of snow left an unsafe playing surface at Rio Grande Park in Aspen, where the tournament is being played. After an hour-long delay, the games were called off and replaced with two shootouts to determine who would make Sunday's finals.

Ricky Cooper, selected to represent U.S. Polo Assn., won the first shootout, 3-1, over Audi's Grant Ganzi. In the second shootout, Flexjet's Jason Crowder defeated St. Regis star Nacho Figuera, 3-2.

"We have been watching the field and they tried to prepare it but it was just too deep so we ended up with a shootout," St. Regis player Bernie Uechtritz said in a news release. "It was a level playing field anyway, so the shootout was the great equalizer. It was a roll of the dice."

The championship and consolation games are scheduled to go on as planned Sunday. U.S. Polo Assn. will face Flexjet at 1 p.m. in the championship game at Rio Grande Park, followed by the consolation game between St. Regis and Audi at 2:30 p.m.

It is the third time in four years U.S. Polo Assn. has made the snow polo finals.

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acolbert@aspentimes.com

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