Nic Roldan, rising polo star, back in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Nic Roldan, rising polo star, back in Aspen

Linda Lafferty
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

David LominskaNic Roldan follows the action during the 2009 World Snow Polo Championships in Aspen.

ASPEN – When British royalty come to the United States to play polo, Prince William and Prince Harry know who to call: Nic Roldan.

Roldan served as captain of the U.S. team in Prince William’s Foundation Polo Challenge and he was captain of Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity team for the 2010 Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic.

But it’s not just royalty. From Australia to South America, from Asia to Europe – everyone who follows high-goal polo knows Nic Roldan.

Think Lance Armstrong, but replace the bike with a galloping half-ton horse.

Roldan is a natural talent with a lifetime of experience. He remembers swinging a polo mallet at the age of four. Ten years later, at age 14, he turned professional, and, shortly after that, he won the U.S. Open Polo Championship.

Rodlan acknowledges being an “adrenaline junkie.” To ride and compete at the highest level in a game as dangerous as polo, you have to enjoy that rush. Freedom from fear is a requirement.

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But so is supreme skill, both riding a horse and handling a mallet.

At age 28, Nic Roldan has become one of the most accomplished and highly respected polo players in the world.

Born in Buenos Aires and raised in the U.S. and Brunei, Roldan followed in the footsteps of his father, Raul Roldan, who played for the Sultan of Brunei’s team for many years.

His prowess on the polo field – a nine-goal rating places him just about at the very top of the sport – coupled with his good looks makes him … well, glamorous. Roldan was featured in Vanity Fair’s 10 Hottest Horsemen and was on the cover of Haute Living magazine with Eva Longoria.

But the good looks shouldn’t distract anyone’s attention from the fact that Roldan is one of the greatest polo players in the world.

And one thing he has made clear.

He loves Aspen.

“My first time to Aspen was three years ago and I fell in love with it. Instantly.”

High praise, from an athlete who has competed on five continents.

“I have many memories of Aspen. All of them are great. From my uncontrolled runs down the mountain to the wonderful dinners at Cache Cache to the afternoon hot toddies by the fire at The Little Nell.”

When he first came to Aspen, Roldan had never skied.

“I learned very quickly and fell in love with it. I am an adrenaline junky so for me it was a perfect fit.”

Roldan always skis with Marc Ganzi, another well-known polo player, who grew up here in Aspen.

“Marc also knows all the best runs so I get spoiled. It’s a blast!”

Because Roldan lives in Florida, the change in scenery and weather is refreshing.

“We always go in December so that winter Christmas feel is so fun. Plus we always have a great group to enjoy long ski days with. Aspen also offers fantastic restaurants and a good night life. It’s the perfect way to end a year.”