Every winter, high society guests, equestrian sports enthusiasts and media teams from around the world come to the Snow Polo World St. Moritz, located in the heart of the Alps. Well, it’s the world’s only high goal tournament on snow!
The polo field, the grandstands, the VIP catering area, towers and media tent are all built every year from scratch once the lake is frozen, the compressed snow creates this unique white carpet under the blue winter sky.
GTspirit photographer David Kaiser travelled to St. Moritz for the final day of the tournament to capture the eventful experience. After the game for 3rd place (won by team Badrutt’s Palace) , the crowd was eagerly waiting for the Finale- Team Maserati against the 2015 champions, Team Cartier. The report obviously has a focus on Maserati since they were also offering VIP shuttle service throughout the whole tournament with a fleet of cars from their present model range.
World-class players from six nations competed in the Snow Polo World Cup . Four teams with evenly matched handicap levels were present to fight for the Cartier Trophy. The defending champions Team Cartier is a full English team. Captain Spencer McCarthy (+1) and Charlie Wooldridge (+2) played alongside two old hands Nacho Gonzalez (+6) and Chris Hyde (+6). Chris Hyde is said to be the world’s best snow polo player at the moment.
The other three teams were:
Team Badrutt’s Palace Hotel with the US-American Melissa Ganzi as captain. She is one of the few women who play polo at high-goal level.
Team Maserati with Italian-born Rommy Gianni has two high-profile Argentine professionals on his side, Dario Musso (+7) and Frankie Menendez (+6).
Team Perrier-Jouët with two Swiss Players supported by two handicap +7 Brazilian players Aluisio Rosa and Olavo Novaes
About the final game
(St. Moritz, 31 January 2016) – For the first time, Rommy Gianni Team Maserati won the Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz’ Cartier Trophy with a 4:5 victory over Team Cartier in the Final. 13’000 spectators and more than 100 members of the media were present to watch polo being played at a level that is rarely seen on snow.
Maserati broke the spell of Chris Hyde and his Cartier team by winning the Finals. The first chukka set the tone for the remainder of the qualification game with Hyde and Gonzalez powering through the wall of Maserati white shirts to score the first two goals of the game. Maserati’s Musso scored two goals to answer the Cartier lead and end the chukka on a tie, 2-2.
The second chukka was tough for both sides, with only one goal scored by Menendes to take Maserati into the lead. Cartier’s Gonzalez started the penultimate chukka with a penalty. The powdery uneven surface was hard for the players and the ponies and a few critical errors from the three-time winners Cartier, this allowed Maserati to extend their lead to 5-2 going into the final chukka. The play was speckled with beautiful teamwork from Cartier, with each player passing to another, up and down the field. Hyde managed to convert two penalties to close the 5-4 gap.
With just one minute left on the clock, Cartier looked as though they would equalise and take the game into an extra chukka. But it was not to be – Maserati remained hot on their heels, maintaining the pressure right down to the last second, to win the 32nd Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz.
About St Moritz
The town of St Moritz is located on the Engadin valley in Switzerland. St. Moritz hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948 and will be hosting the alpine ski world championships for the fifth time in 2017. In 1985, the world’s first ever polo tournament on snow was held here. The Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz, organised by Evviva Polo St Moritz Ltd is not the only winter sport spectacle held on the frozen lake. Besides Ice Cricket there is also the famous “White Turf”, horse racing like you have never seen before.
The event first started nearly 100 years ago in 1907 brings wealthy tourists to the lake for champagne and betting. This is also the location, where sports enthusiasts invented the sport of skijoring. In this type of race, thoroughbred horses compete without riders on their backs, but instead skiers in tow – adrenaline pure – like driving on the Nordschleife with 900bhp under the hood.