The St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow celebrates its 30th anniversary
The 30th edition of the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow was opened today. What began 30 years ago with a highly adventurous idea has developed over three decades into the world’s most prestigious and highest-level polo tournament. The anniversary polo tournament will be contested by the four teams BMW, Cartier, Ralph Lauren and Deutsche Bank on the round robin principle, with a view to winning the coveted Cartier Trophy in the final on Sunday, 2 February 2014.
Today, the tournament celebrates its 30th anniversary. This is down to two young Engadin sportsmen, Reto Gaudenzi and Gianni Berry, who became familiar with polo while in Spain in the 1980s. They became so enthusiastic that they decided to set up the first St. Moritz polo team, laying as they did the foundation for Switzerland’s first national polo team, whose members also included Nikki Hahn and Uberto Gasche in 1983. Soon after, in the winter of 1984, they had the adventurous idea of playing the sport on snow and ice. Following a successful trial match on the frozen Lake St. Moritz, the first St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow was scheduled for 26 January 1985. The tournament almost had to be cancelled, however, before it had even begun. The snow fell endlessly, and the polo field was covered in half a metre of snow. Thanks only to the combined forces of volunteers and guests was the field made playable, and enabled the first two matches to be held. The joint effort proved worthwhile, as on the day of the final the St. Moritz weather was on its best behaviour. The first St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow ever was won by the Cartier St. Moritz team, who beat the German team by 6:5. This event not only served to mark the launch of 30 years of winter polo in St. Moritz, but also went on to create a worldwide trend. While polo on snow is now played in locations such as Aspen in the USA, Cortina in Italy and Tianjin in China, the original in St. Moritz remains the only high-goal tournament on snow and thus the highest-level tournament in the World Polo Tour calendar.
Spectators can look forward to another hard-fought tournament this year. Cartier, Ralph Lauren, BMW and Deutsche Bank will all compete with a team handicap of 17 to 18 goals, collecting valuable points for the World Polo Tour. Each team will play every other team in accordance with the round robin principle, and the tournament will reach its climax in the two finals on Sunday. At 2.00 p.m. the finalists will compete for first place and for the Cartier Trophy. “Every team has the potential to take home the trophy for the 30th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. The competition will be tough! I look forward to an unforgettable tournament,” comments an excited Bernhard Pöllinger, Head of Sports & Infrastructure at St. Moritz Polo Corporation.
Polo village – Thursday to Sunday
The polo village with its various show tents offers a range of attractions aimed at cutting the waiting time between matches. Spectators can for example enjoy a meal or a snack in the Hotel Steffani tent, which will be offering a range of culinary treats ranging from bratwurst to Asian dishes, as well as coffee and cake. Also available is a selection of sophisticated cocktails in the 1724 Tonic Water or Cȋroc Vodka tents. BMW has the new X5 on display, and polo fans can purchase the popular official team and anniversary shirts as well as various accessories directly on the lake from the Ender Sport Polo Shop. On Saturday and Sunday there will be public introductions to the sport of polo (at 1.45 p.m.), and the Huw Lewis Duo will play between the matches.
St. Moritz Polo Gala Night – three star chefs combine forces
The highlight off the field will undoubtedly be the gala night at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, which this year will be offering its guests an unforgettable menu. Three Swiss star chefs have been engaged to prepare the dinner: “Chef of the Year” Tanja Grandits and Park Hotel Vitznau chef Nenad Mlinarevic will create the two starters, while Schauenstein top chef Andreas Caminada will take care of the dessert. The main course will be a world premiere – a joint, six-handed creation by all three chefs, who together boast a total of 53 Gault Millau points.