Crystal Di Rosa has been dreaming for years to grow the sport of polo in Ontario. Ladies polo is one of the fastest growing demographics within the sport of polo and she’s looking to ensure Canadian women don’t get left behind. “It’s a dream come true to be able to host the first ever all women’s snow polo event ever held in the country at our farm” said Crystal, owner of DiRosa Polo located in Mount Albert just north of Toronto, Ontario.
Peewee and adults made up the roster for the day’s events. We had ladies of all ages come out to play and all but one player on the field were first generation polo players, it was really an impressive gathering of women players. However, not everyone could make it. In true Canadian fashion, we had one club unable to attend the event due to a snowstorm that morning. Eventually, the weather cleared into a glorious sunny -14 degree day.
Snow polo is not the easiest event to host, even in the Canadian winter climate. Due to fluctuating temperatures which can cause the wrong consistency or simply too much/not enough snow. The week leading up to the game the temperatures were steady and ranging from -10 to -25 degrees Celsius so the snow and field conditions became ideal. “We are trying to build up the community of women locally and nationally to help grow the sport and open up opportunities to these competitive girls. It’s events like the Di Rosa’s snow polo that help bring everyone together, and open doors,” says Emily Hurst, Manager at Polo Management Services/the Toronto Polo School.
Learn to Play polo programs offered by DiRosa Polo and the Toronto Polo School target bringing new players into the sport but in the last few years in Canada youth and ladies polo haven’t seen as much support despite being two of the fastest growing demographics recently. Until now, thanks to successful programs at both facilities.
“There is a polo community in Ontario and we hope to unite the new generation of female players, help them grow, excel and be able to make attainable the dreams of one day playing in Florida or Argentina at the top level of the sport,” says Di Rosa. “At the end of the day, it’s a sport based on networks, the bigger the network and community, the more opportunities will be available, we are trying to build a platform for ladies to make those connections and reach their goals, whatever they may be“ – Says Hurst
Snow is in Crystal’s blood, with a family legacy in snowmaking, it only seemed fitting that the first ladies polo event she hosted would be played on snow. Emily came together with Crystal to help create a fun event of snow polo where women from four clubs in Ontario were each invited. “What an amazing day! The frigid temperatures did nothing to contain the enthusiasm of the women who came out to participate and support DiRosa Polo’s inaugural women’s snow polo event the air was filled with hoot n holler’s, frozen breaths and the occasional ball of snow. It was incredible to watch.” says Shelley Henderson of Fox Den Farms
These ladies braved -14°C weather and with the help of Crystal’s husband Santiago and a crew of women’s polo supporters created and conditioned 2 snow arenas and held the first ever all ladies snow polo match in the country and a peewee girls polo showcase. “It felt great to be a part of something so new and exciting with such an amazing group of people. I think that we should definitely create more opportunities for women to play together competitively. There are many women playing polo at clubs across Canada and it would be great to have them brought together more often” says Ali MacDonald of Fox Den Farms.
With this event over, the ladies are now pushing forward to create further opportunities for the women in polo in Canada during the coming year. “With the support of the ladies at the WIPN we were given the tools and connections needed to feel like we can be successful in this venture of improving the sport in Canada. Thank you to them! Thank you for telling us it was attainable and thank you from all of us who froze our toes together in the name of progressing the sport of Women’s polo in Canada.” – Says Di Rosa
Left to Right: Christine O’Reilly, Charlotte Lightly, Emily Hurst, Melanie Carlen, Hailey Clarke, Crystal Di Rosa, Andrina Calder, Ali McDonald, Santiago Di Rosa, Madeline Howard