Luxury Dossier

life at a gallop

Tag: St. Moritz

Substance Over Style

Can polo get any flashier?  There are times when I think it must be impossible to pile on any more bling, what with skydivers, cheerleaders, helicopters unloading celebrities onto the field in Palm Beach, not to mention swiveling bikini babes on the tables at beach polo in Miami (as if there is such a thing as beach polo), well-heeled Germans lining the heated tents in St. Moritz for snow polo (as if there is such a thing as polo on snow).  Let’s face it; it gets a little dizzying.

My theory is that the spectacle of polo is not polo at all ,just the trappings, like a beautiful girl who looks great until you see her without her makeup and deem her unrecognizable.

There days, I’m all about the dynastic influence of polo as an elegant game.  (In the interest of self-disclosure here, let it be said I am the wife of a third generation polo player from one of the great dynastic families of South Asia).  I’m not a purist, but still feel that we could abandon the theatrics surrounding so-called club entertainment in favor of more traditional protocol, gentlemanly play, better horsemanship, and more equity for a diversity of players.

In short, more substance.

The style will take care of itself.

—Donna L.M. Khan

France wins St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow

St. Moritz, 30 January 2011 – After four days of taut sporting nerves, France carries off the victor’s trophy at the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. This weekend, the encounter of top-notch teams representing France, England, Germany and Switzerland drew more than 15,000 polo fans and interested onlookers to Lake St. Moritz. England took second place, while Switzerland and Germany came in third and fourth. Reconfigured as a Nations Cup, the tournament met a rapturous reception from spectators and players alike. The organisers of the world’s best-known polo tournament on snow take this as endorsement of their new departure. They are already planning the 28th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow.

 

The 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow drew to its climax today with a victory for the French team and its patron François le Barazer. More than 15,000 spectators have watched thrilling, high-class polo matches on the frozen Lake St. Moritz over the past four days. Patron Vivek Rawal’s English team took second place in the tournament, while places three and four went to Switzerland (patron Philipp Maeder) and Germany (patron Thomas Wolfensberger). Anyway, there were no losers on Lake St. Moritz. A sponsor’s trophy was contested at each match, and the total value of prizes awarded exceeds CHF 100,000. The resonance generated by the new “Nations Cup” version of the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow has exceeded all the organisers’ expectations. The players, too, were emphatic in their endorsement of the new concept, as the patron of the Swiss team, Philipp Maeder, confirmed: “It’s always a great experience to play here, but the new format involves the spectators even more closely and enables them to spur on ‘their team’, creating a fantastic atmosphere in the stands that naturally also inspires the players!”

 

Fiercely fought final

Following a breathtakingly tense final played out under blazing sunshine, France succeeded in winning the Trophy of the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. The match result was decided in the final few minutes, when a goal by Nacho Gonzalez, who later also went on to be named Player of the Tournament, put the French team ahead on 5:4. Team colleague Oscar Mancini commented: “I’m delighted to have won, but we had to fight hard for this victory. We played well in the first half, and it wasn’t until England caught up that we started to worry. It took all our efforts to secure victory. It was a fiercely fought but fantastic final.” Despite its excellence performance the Swiss team did not quite make it to the final, but won its final game against Germany to secure third place.

New era dawns for St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow

The success of the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow endorses the organisers’ chosen way forward. St. Moritz Polo AG’s CEO Heinz Reber notes, “This tournament was a kind of prototype for us. Of course we are delighted at the highly positive feedback, which inspires us on into the future. Certainly there will be further improvements and individual adjustments. But, overall, it can safely be said: this tournament is now going into production.” There is no respite after the months of intensive preparation. St. Moritz Polo AG is already planning the 28th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow. Talks are under way with potential sponsors and nations interested in next year’s tournament. Russia, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and a European country have evinced keen interest in participating.

 

Sustainable and locally based

Working jointly with the White Turf organisers and the local authority, St. Moritz Polo AG implemented a new transport and infrastructure plan this year. There is less equipment on the lake, energy and costs have been saved, and public parking has been shifted from the lake. These are the results of cooperation which was not always easy at the start, but which has now borne excellent fruit. The energy plan, implemented jointly with photovoltaic specialist Tritec, has provided solar-powered exterior lighting, while only one tent on the whole laketop has been heated. This formed part of the sustainability plan devised a year ago, which the organisers promise to refine further in future. As in winter 2010, the hospitality area successfully focused on involving local partners under the motto “Engadin/Graubünden”. Images from Alois Carigiet’s “Schellen-Ursli” lent charm and atmosphere to the decor. Culinary treats for visitors included regional specialities served by Reto Mathis and his crew in the Hospitality Tent.

 

Pony welfare a priority

Lead players and secret stars of the tournament were the polo ponies. As every year, their well-being was top of the organisers’ priority list. New stabling, erected in 2010, meets the latest animal accommodation standards. In addition to grooms and vets, a specialist physiotherapist looked after the health of these valuable animals during the strenuous matches. As top athletes (which is what these ponies are), they deserve nothing but the optimum support.

 

Haute Ice: Snow Polo Heats up St. Moritz


St. Moritz, 27 January 2011 – The world’s most famous polo tournament on snow has begun. France, England, Germany and Switzerland are now competing at highest level for the coveted trophy. A new era has dawned, for the teams at the 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow are playing under national flags, replacing the former sponsor-based teams. This is likely to bring the sport of polo further into the limelight and make it accessible to both polo initiates and newcomers. If all goes as the organisers plan, the Engadin will soon become a premier venue for polo in particular, and equestrian sport in general. Special interest focuses on rising young talent. In the not-too-distant future, there are going to be more Swiss polo players. Maybe one or two will rank among the world’s best.

Reconfigured with nations teams, this tournament promises unremitting excitement for its spectators on frozen Lake St. Moritz. In past years, teams bore the names of their sponsors. From now on, they compete under the flags of their patrons. These are: France, patron François Le Barazer; England, patron Vivek Rawal; Germany, captained by Thomas Wolfensberger; and Switzerland, by Philipp Maeder. The organisers are confident that a Nations Cup will mean extra sporting and competitive attraction for the players themselves. The 27th St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow is still the world’s highest-level tournament on snow, since all teams boast a handicap of 15 to 17.

2011: blueprint for the future of the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow

The core of the reshaped tournament is polo as sport. This aspect is highlighted, in order to appeal to a new and wider audience. “We would like the St. Moritz Polo World Cup to be accessible to all, so that newcomers to this riveting sport are bitten by the polo bug. In the past, a good many spectators were sponsors’ guests,” explains St. Moritz Polo AG’s CEO Heinz Reber. The switch from team sponsors to tournament sponsors allows the organisers greater flexibility. Organisational procedures have hitherto been extremely laborious. Heinz Reber is certain that the sponsors will also ultimately win from a Nations Cup. Highly positive feedback from the sponsors themselves appears to confirm this. However, as Heinz Reber admits, a reconfigured tournament still involves a degree of risk. “Our tournament is known all over the world and enjoys a high international profile, but sometimes new departures are needed to usher in a new era,” concludes St. Moritz Polo AG’s CEO, with conviction.

 

Engadin as premier venue for polo and equestrian sports

This promotion of the sport of polo will result in international polo tournaments being held in the Engadin in summer as well as winter. Three are planned for summer 2011. St. Moritz Polo AG will also be staging its second national youth camp, in addition to its successful Polo School. Encouraging young talent is very important to the specialist polo company. As with any sport, the future of Swiss polo is closely dependent on attracting a new generation. “Who knows?” grins Bernhard Pöllinger, Head of Infrastructures and Sports at St. Moritz Polo AG. “Perhaps a Swiss polo player will rank among the world’s best in the not-too-distant future.” Whether or not this happens, St. Moritz Polo AG has set itself the goal of making the Engadin a premier venue for polo fans, and for equestrian sport enthusiasts in general.

 

France is now playing Germany: follow the results at www.polostmoritz.com.