Aspen Valley Polo Club announces spectator-free summer schedule |

Aspen Valley Polo Club announces spectator-free summer schedule

A polo match is played in the summer of 2019 at the Aspen Valley Polo Club fields near Carbondale. The 2020 season is scheduled to start July 5, although the general public won't be allowed in due to the pandemic.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen Valley Polo Club recently announced its summer schedule, which includes 11 key events, 10 grass tournaments and three arena challenges at its Carbondale-based venue.

Normally, admission is free and open to the public, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the club won’t be able to have spectators “for the foreseeable future.” In a news release, AVPC said this is “out of an abundance of caution” and players will continue to be tested for COVID-19 throughout the season.

“Polo has become part of the fabric of summer in Aspen,” club co-founder Melissa Ganzi said in the news release. “Our fans are important to us and we are extremely disappointed to be unable to include them in our 2020 season. This is obviously due to our need for caution and care in the face of the pandemic.”

While the events may be closed to the general public, ChukkerTV will livestream the entirety of the 2020 polo series.

With some of the world’s best players coming to the Roaring Fork Valley to play each year, the AVPC season has become a hot-ticket item in the polo world.

This year’s lineup is slated to include appearances from three 10-goalers (polo’s highest handicap), including Argentinian stars Pablo MacDonough and Juan Martin Nero, as well as Pablo “Polito” Pieres, America’s top-ranked player. Aspen polo mainstay Nic Roldan, an eight-goaler and the No. 2-ranked American, also is set to return.

The Ganzi family, which started the club and is the face of polo in the valley, all will play. This includes Marc and Melissa Ganzi, as well as their children, Grant and Riley.

The season kicks off Sunday, July 5, with the Independence Cup. The rest of the month includes the Craig Sakin Memorial (July 10-12); ChukkerTV Challenge Cup (July 17-19); USPA National Arena Handicap (July 22-29); Basalt Handicap (July 24-26); and Emma Challenge Cup (July 30-Aug. 2).

The August lineup includes the High Alpine Cup (Aug. 7-9); Mount Sopris Cup (Aug. 14-16); Rocky Mountain Open (Aug. 21-23); and Carbondale Classic (Aug. 28-30). The season wraps up with “The Triple Crown of Polo” from Sept. 1-6.

The Ganzis usually put on the World Snow Polo Championship each December at Rio Grande Park in Aspen, although no official announcement has yet been made on if that event will go on as planned for 2020 amid the pandemic.