Tournament report: An Australian makes it to king of snow in St. Moritz
St. Moritz, 1 February 2015. The Australian-British Team Cartier won the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz for the third time in a row. In the decisive match, Jonathan Munro Ford and his team did not give a chance to the Italian-German-Argentine Team BMW and secured the hat trick. Attracting more than 12’000 spectators, the tournament was hugely successful with the public. The new organising team had a successful debut.
With a 10 : 2,5 runaway victory against Team BMW, the Australian Jonathan Munro Ford and his Team Cartier won the St. Moritz tournament for the third time in a row. In the finals for third place, the Swiss «Team Trois Pommes» bowed to the Irish-British «Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel» and had to contend themselves with the last place in the tournament. The crowds were fascinated by both games of the last day: playing on a hard ground, all teams put up a strong fight and displayed fascinating polo playing, which the spectators visibly enjoyed.
The world’s only high-goal snow polo tournament lived up to its reputation: between Friday and Sunday, some 12’000 spectators attended the six high-level snow polo matches. Even the losers left the field with a smile on their face—showing their pleasure of having played on the St. Moritz snow field.
The physical conditions were excellent on all three days of the tournament. The field was impeccably prepared, despite capricious weather conditions throughout December and January. «The local helpers, once again, did a fantastic job,» says tournament promoter Reto Gaudenzi summing up. «They have literally been working day and night for weeks to make sure spectators, players, and polo ponies are given the best conditions. For me, they are this weekend’s true heroes.»
«You simply have to have played polo in St. Moritz at least once in your lifetime» Piki Diaz Alberdi had already enthused before his debut on snow. The Argentine old hand enjoyed the tournament, even though the matches did not run very smoothly for him and his Team Trois Pommes. «The ambience in St. Moritz is unique—I will come back for sure.»
After the game, the winning Team Cartier’s Chris Hyde, who scored five of the ten goals in the finals, praised the high level of the tournament. «The match against Badrutt’s Palace was one of the best snow polo games I ever played,» said the scorer of the, by now, three-times winning team. «The field was superb—these are the best conditions I ever played on.»
In its 31st edition, the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz was once again the sportive and social crowning point of the snow polo winter season. The visitors experienced high-class entertainment on and off the field. The stands were full on both Saturday and Sunday and the audience loudly cheered the playing teams on.
Some 12’000 visitors enjoyed the unique concoction of hospitality, a touch of luxury, and great sports spectacle that pervaded polo field, tents and stands, nestled in the breath-taking beauty of the Engadine mountains. Photographers, journalists and camera teams from around the globe mingled with the guests; 140 members of the media were accredited.
On Saturday evening, the Snow Polo Night was held in the Badrutt’s Palace hotel hosting 400 guests. An international fashion show was held, presented by the founder of Trois Pommes, Trudie Götz; a few of the younger polo players joined the catwalk to the great delight of the guests present. At the following gala dinner in the «Embassy» club, honours were presented once again to the players and partners of the tournament. Afterwards, the polo family celebrated in the «King’s Club» until the crack of dawn.
The old-cum-new organising team around Reto Gaudenzi can be pleased with their debut: tournament, gastronomy, hospitality and evening functions ran smoothly thanks also to the many old hands and delighting all the guests and visitors. Many voiced were heard raving about the informal and relaxed atmosphere.
«See you next year!» exclaimed Gaudenzi at the close of the tournament: the 32nd Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz will be held from 29 to 31 January 2016.