Hellz yeah...I know how lucky I am to live in Aspen. Skiing every day...partying every night...you can't make that sh*t up.
Today was the best of times and the worst of times. On the mountain it snowed a few inches...but the flakes were fat...and phat. Today it actually snowed. Last year it kept misting all the time. It felt good to feel the flakes on my Movemberless face. I got to run a few laps with Lasse Kjus, World Champ, Olympic Champ, World Cup Champ along with a group from Bill Miller's Hamilton Sports and Kjus North Amrerica. so that was sick. See a few pix. Laps with Lasse.
Today was also the day that Aspen's City Council had their "work session" about snow polo. The deck was stacked against me...but history and logic were on my side. I was sticking up for Wagner Park... the crown jewel and most accessible open space in the center of Aspen. You can read my previous rant here SAVE WAGNER PARK. Or the articles in the Aspen Daily News: SNOW POLO 1 :: SNOW POLO 2.
So it shaped up like this. Andy Party vs. The City of Aspen, a billionaire, Aspen Ski Co.and the entire polo world. My odds were decent. My goal was to have the Snow Polo event relocated to a less impactful space 1 mile West of town. It was clear the new Czar of Snow Polo, Marc Ganzi was willing to do just about anything to get this event produced in Wagner Park. He hired the ski co. to make and/or truck snow into the park in order to protect the turf. As a result of the snow polo debacle in 2009 that severly damaged the park, the Aspen Parks Dept. had devised a set of "strict criteria" in an effort to disuade Winter events in Wagner Park. Yada yada yada...the "strict criteria" was altered substantially to accommodate snow polo 2013. Snow polo will be allowed to blow snow in the park using snow guns between 9am-3pm and they will be granted a noise variance. Boom. The billionaire wins.
They will have to produce a compacted snow base of 6"-8". A far cry from the 18" previously stipulated. Who pays for the water? The good people of Aspen. Steve Barwick provided and estimate for the cost of the water to make all that snow. "Minimal" is what our all-knowing City Manager came up with. Nice answer. How many gallons is minimal? Where was parks poobah Jeff Woods during all this brew ha? He's been in meetings for 4 weeks. Nice.
Wagner Park is slated for a $1.25 million "re-do" after Food & Wine so they figure its a good time to "experiment" with more high impact events in the park. The right time to "try it out". X Games concerts will have a much higher impact on the park than snow polo according to the parks dept. Like that somehow makes it O.K.? Rio Grande Park has been under construction for 3 years. None of this stuff seems reasonable to me. Some of the rhetoric just doesn't add up.
So I stuck my neck out in defense of the park. I layed it out there. I made a compelling argument, that was considered and then disregarded. I felt the adrenaline flowing, because I truly believed a line had been crossed. I believe in transparency. This deal slipped thorugh the cracks. I was just trying to keep our city officials honest...which they aren't. Somehow, behind closed doors it went from...no Winter events in Wagner Park... to... it's OK with an 18" snow base required... to... we support snow polo with a 6-8" base and snow guns blasting. Sure, I realize that snow polo in the park is a 1% problem. There are bigger fish to fry out there.
I truly hope that Snow Polo in Aspen becomes the thing that Marc Ganzi envisions as a "world class event" that provides a "unique public benefit". He promised to bring to Aspen the "best horse Vet and 3 of the top ten polo players in the World and the current #1". Ganzi wants to "use sport as a platform to promote social welfare and charity". Whaaaat? Ganzi also admitted that his wife "loves her horses as much as she loves her children".
I was in there mixing it up. Keeping it real. It felt good. Today was a siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick POW day so that helped ease the pain. If all I gotta do is b*tch about snow guns and dump trucks to get a foot and a half of natural snow (like today), I'll do it. Best POW DAY in 3 years.
Before they were famous. During my research I was able to un-earth high school senior pictures of our Mayor, the 4 Council Members, The City Manager and the Manager of the Parks Dept. See if you can figure out who's who.