ML - Aspen Peak

Aspen Peak - 2016 - Issue 2 - Winter

Aspen Peak - Niche Media - Aspen living at its peak

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IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE As the crowds pour in for the Aspen Snow Polo Championship, December 15–18, polo great and man-about-"town" nacho figuer as reveals why Aspen has become home sweet mountain home. BY NADINE SCHIFF-ROSEN f the name Ignacio "Nacho" Figueras doesn't immediately sound familiar to you, take a glimpse at his smoldering, chiseled face and you will recognize him as one of the world's most photographed models—the sultry brand ambassador for Ralph Lauren's men's fragrances. He's that dude, seducing you from magazine covers, buses, and billboards all over the world—only this scorching visage is more than just a pretty face. Ranked as one of the world's top polo players, he races his beloved horses at heart-attack speeds through polo fields from Buenos Aires to the Hamptons, from Los Angeles to Dubai, and this December, to Aspen. Committed to bringing the "sport of kings" to the masses through his global events and tournaments, he attracts celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Madonna, Chloë Sevigny, and even his good pal Prince Harry to cheer him on. But all for a good cause. Figueras's philanthropic work, pairing horses and inner cities and special-needs kids, is not only democratizing the sport; it's raising the bar for therapeutic equine programs the world over. For fun, he advances his own brand by authoring steamy romance novels featuring—wait for it—a sexy polo player. But don't believe everything you read. In real life, Figueras, 39, has been married for 18 years to Delfina Blaquier, the love of his life and the mother of their four children. When he's not competing on the field, Figueras runs a serious horse- breeding operation in an ultramodern stable near his farm in Buenos Aires. As a co-owner of Black Watch, a polo team in America, he aspires to bring horses and the sport of polo into the entrepreneurial mainstream of entertainment, creating fashion, television series, movies, and even theme parks. Can this multitalented athlete have it all? Probably so. With his movie star looks, influential friends, and business savvy, Nacho Figueras is well on his way to achieving his Hollywood (and, yes, Aspen) field of dreams. TICKET TO R IDE Why did you become a polo player? I love polo, first and foremost. I started playing at 9, became a professional at 16, and as I grew, I got to love the horses even more than the sport. The horses really became a big part of my life and my family's life. We are now breeding horses and have a big operation. My eldest son is 16, and very soon he too will become a professional polo player. So just when I thought I couldn't love the sport any more, playing the game with my 6-foot-3-inch son brings it to a whole other level. What has been the most challenging time for you as a polo player? I broke my hip in 2013 in England, which was the worst accident I ever had. It was hard, tough, for many different reasons. At the same time, it also gave me a lot of perspective. For 20 years I had been playing, playing, playing, nonstop. And then I stayed home and fell into this highway of emotions. So the accident helped me take a break and miss the game—miss a lot of things. When you came back, were you afraid? You can't be afraid. Polo requires all of your senses, and you need to be very awake. If you're afraid, you can't really ride, or play at a high level. So, thank God, fear did not affect me. You call Prince Harry your friend? Tell us about your relationship. Prince Harry and I are very close. We talk all the time. He's a great I ASPENPEAK-MAGAZINE.COM  119

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