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Glacial Dexterity

Every year since 1985, four teams have competed for the Snow Polo World Cup on a frozen lake in the Engadine.  It’s an event that blends sport and glamour, and elects St. Moritz as capital of snow polo.  In 1978, hotelier Reto Gaudenzi formed the Swiss polo team competing in the first match in Sotogrande, and after two years established the first polo tournament on snow, the forerunner of a trend which has spread around the world, from Aspen to Cortina, even reaching as far as Tianjin in China.

All equestrian sports, and Polo in particular, are a special symbiosis between horses and humans. Thanks to technological innovation, the playing fields are more suitable to host prestigious teams and thoroughbred horses,” said the founder of the famous Snow Polo World Cup, now in its 33rd edition.  During the latest edition, Team Cartier, headed by Rommy Gianni, defeated Melissa Ganzi, helmswoman for Team Badrutt Palace Hotel, in the final with a score of 7-4.


The St. Moritz event remains the most renowned; from the 26th to the 29th of January, Team Cartier, Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, Team Maserati, and Team Perrier-Jouät (handicap 14-15-16) competed for the coveted cup and captivated the numerous guests who came for the incredible show. “The tradition is always the same, a game for gentlemen, behind the allure of noble rivalry.  But it’s not just a simple sport; rather, it’s a passion and a way of life,” Gaudenzi continues.

The tournament was a full-blown success.  In just one weekend, more than 12,000 spectators participated in the spectacular game, much to the extreme satisfaction of Reto Gaudenzi and his team of organizers.

This year, we saw the best Snow Polo ever played. It all ran perfectly; players, spectators, sponsors, and hotels in St. Moritz were extremely satisfied.  Not to mention that the added value to the local economy was over ten million francs.” 

However, the mindset is already looking to the future.  “For next year, in terms of innovations, there will be further changes at a very high level of play, just like how we have ambitious ideas for hospitality.”

Prodded by the cold, upstanding spectators settled into the stands to witness the feats of heroic knights, just as the crowds were teeming at the usual glamour events, such as the aperitif and the gala dinner at the Badrutt Palace Hotel.  Mastery and refinement, with graceful movements, have chiseled the clear days among the sublime heights, glacial reflections, chromatic refractions, and unchanging colors which are all part of the framework, ready to host the next games, January 26th-28th, 2018.

Author: Chiara Melani


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