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Snow polo gains fans worldwide

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Ryan Brewer, Viewpoint Editor

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Colorado Springs, Colorado: home to the prestigious United States Olympic Training Center.
Also found in Aspen, Colorado: the official United States Snow Polo Center.
If you’ve never heard of snow polo than you’re not alone, many haven’t heard of this game before. It’s a unique combination of ice hockey and polo. The rules of polo still apply, but the game is played on an icy lake with a ball around the size of football.
Although not a common sport in the United States, snow polo is played competitively worldwide, with an international cup coming up this January in Switzerland. Tickets start around $60.00 and can only be purchased online at the official website.
“I watched a video and it really seems like a wholesome sport.Watching the highlights, all the players were respectful to each other,” said junior Nik Davis.
Horses have to be specifically bred so that they are capable of playing on slippery surfaces. Training and breeding these horses is an expensive and long process. Without these precautions the horse or the rider could suffer serious injury. Equipment is another major key to keeping participants safe. Horses will wear a variety of accessories including a pair studs in each hoof to keep the horse from sliding about.
“This seems like a very dangerous sport, but it also seems exciting,” said senior Hanyu Qui.
In the United States snow polo is played in Aspen where the national center for snow polo is located. Finding a local league to play in is impossible outside of Colorado.
“I would try it if it had an opportunity,” said Davis.
Playing on the international stage is a rare opportunity for many participants, as only four teams make it each year. Players are selected from countries as diverse as Ireland to Russia to be a part of these teams.
“I think being paid to play snow polo would be great because it looks fun, so it would not feel like work,” said Davis.
Along with the chance to win the title of World Champion, players earn a large paycheck for their efforts. Winning teams earn prize money for tournaments that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
“Honestly, I think that it is pretty neat that there’s an opportunity for people to do what they love,” said Qiu.

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West Springfield High School Newspaper
Snow polo gains fans worldwide