Polo aficionados whetted their appetites this past weekend with the St. Moritz Snow Polo World Cup in Switzerland.
While Super Bowl fans noshed on their nachos and beer lamenting the loss of the SeaHawks, halfway across the world spectators in St. Moritz watched four international teams battle it out for top spot in the world’s most prestigious snow polo tournament.
From Zurich, 100 horses made their way by train through the mountains to St. Moritz arriving early to acclimatize to the climate and the altitude. The horses were then shod with rubber lined ‘hoof grip’ horseshoes in time to begin their pre-tournament training.
Event organizers this year had the added difficulty of contending with three feet of snow which pushed the playing surface into the lake resulting in a layer of slush. Buildings previously built on the surface had to be removed and then re-erected once the temperatures thankfully dipped again below freezing. The end result was nothing short of perfection and the marquee village managed to house its guests beautifully.
The tournament was hard fought and in the end Team Cartier and its string of ponies edged out Team BMW to win the 31st Snow Polo World Cup.
Snow Polo has increased in popularity since its conception in 1959. The first ever official match was played on Lake St. Moritz in 1985. While it is played on a smaller field than traditional polo, the game is even quicker and spectators enjoy the close up views they wouldn’t normally get with the traditionally larger pitches.
Countries sporting snow polo events today include Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France, the United States, Argentina, Russia, China and Spain.
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