Nothing against snow polo, but … | AspenTimes.com

Nothing against snow polo, but …

Dear Editor:I am a big fan of Aspen’s parks and open spaces and a daily user, especially of Wagner Park, Rio Grande Park and the Rio Grande Trail.I’m not anti snow polo, because seriously, who doesn’t love snow polo? However, I am against the long-lasting damage to our parks caused by snow polo. Wagner Park already gets significant wear and tear from Food & Wine, Ruggerfest and other events. In years past when the two-day snow polo event was held at Rio Grande Park (which, according to some, is “too far off the beaten path”) there was frozen horse dung lingering for two months after the event, not to mention the turf damage.According to Curtis Wackerle’s article in the Aspen Daily News, City Council is “wary of showing the event and its high-dollar clientele the door.” Councilman Adam Frisch said snow polo brings “significant revenue that we use to pay our $85 million budget.” One snow polo enthusiast said “it’s really good for the city of Aspen” and claims that it brings 600 room nights to town.I would like to request a little more detail from City Council and the snow polo enthusiasts. What is the definition of “significant revenue?” How do you measure “really good for Aspen?” I’ve attended a few of the snow polo championships in the past, and it’s a fun event. I’m just eyeballing it, but the “600 room nights” seems overly optimistic. Who are the “high-dollar clientele” that come here for the snow polo? In 2008 the White House wedding crashers showed up for snow polo and allegedly left a pile of unpaid bills in their wake.So I’m willing to put up or shut up. As a former CPA with an MBA in finance, I volunteer to audit the “actual” economic impact that snow polo brings to Aspen. I think you’ll find that it’s another example of a private enterprise attempting to capitalize on Aspen’s panache and that the actual numbers are immaterial or even a net loss to the city. Maybe I’m wrong, and if I am, I’ll never write another letter to the editor again.Snow polo is a great event, just not for the high-use parks in the center of Aspen.Please don’t get me started on the city’s $85 million budget. Give me a sharp pencil and I’ll have that thing cut down to $65 million in a few hours … and the parks will remain open and in good shape all year.Let’s keep the open spaces open. Please.Andrew M. IsraelAspen