Majestic mountains of Engadin in South-East Switzerland set the background to the noble polo sport as the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz opens and the polo action fires up.
Unlike many other cultural events and gatherings (even the annual Economic Forum in Davos had to be postponed), the winter sports season has not been canceled, and athletes and fans are gearing up for the world's most luxurious and magnificent snow polo tournament. Swiss precision and world-class performance This annual event is a highlight on both the St. Moritz and Swiss calendars, and it was completely sold out this year, with VIP and Chukka Club tickets all sold out and resort hotels reporting record bookings. But don't forget that the event is free and open to the public in the historic venue's public spaces. The event takes months of planning, and it shows as everything runs with Swiss precision and efficiency, with 120 horses arriving from all over Europe, securely stabled in fully heated luxury, and 2'600 spectators. On the icy lake of St. Moritz, massive infrastructure has been constructed, and players, patrons, and sponsors arrive from all over the world. This event is incredibly exciting – echoing the flamboyant nature of the man that makes it all happen ‘The Godfather of Snow Polo’ Reto Gaudenzi, founder and CEO of the event. This year sees a change to the timetable of the event, with a record six teams entered and three matches each day. To start off proceedings Azerbaijan Land of Fire took on Perrier-Jouët (runners up and third placed at the last event respectively). Despite the forecasts of -10 and snowstorms, it once again seemed that Reto had a direct line to the weather gods and the first match was bathed in sunshine with just the occasional flake of snow falling upon the crowds. On paper it was hard to call who would have the upper hand, but it was Team Azerbaijan Land of Fire who dominated the play, staying deep in their opposition’s half, with Tito Gaudenzi looking strong and solid at back and Raul Laplacette giving everybody a snow polo masterclass despite this being his St. Moritz debut. Azerbaijan Land of Fire showcased a display of strong, four-man polo, with chess like combinations and efficiency. The scores reflected this with Azerbaijan not just the Land of Fire but truly on fire with a conclusive 7 goals to a rather lukewarm 21⁄2 in reply from Perrier-Jouët. The action continued between the all American World Polo League and Clinique La Prairie. The Americans headed up by Marc Ganzi aka ‘The Cobra’, ably abetted by 8 goal Nic Roldan and rounded off by Benji Daniels and Tommy Biddle, on paper presented a real threat to their opponents. First to face them were the strong Clinique La Prairie, under the guidance of Max Charlton who has notched up wins here in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2020 and this year teams up once again with 2020 winning teammate Robert Strom. 2022 is Dillon Bacon’s St. Moritz debut, but the American is certainly once to watch, with top titles such as The Queen’s Cup and French Open under his belt. Follow the action also on Snowpolo-stmoritz.com.