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Born in a Blizzard: St. Moritz Snow Polo

“It had snowed all night and you would never have guessed there was a polo field beneath all that snow,” said Reto Gaudenzi, reminiscing about Saturday, January 26 1985.

For two years, he had worked hard to make the first polo tournament on snow happen; he had convinced innovators, won over skeptics and ignored notorious grousers.

And now, his baby was about to be buried under a pile of snow. “There was far too much for it to be compressed. And the town’s large and heavy snowblowers would simply have cracked through the ice on the lake.”

Polo players are fighters and Gaudenzi would not let himself be disheartened, “Thank goodness, Engadine people are known for not letting you down. We all started making telephone calls at the crack of dawn and by 7 a.m., two dozen locals had arrived to help clear the field with their small private snowblowers.”

After six hours of strenuous effort, they managed to clear a field measuring 40 by 80 meters— a field five times smaller than today. That did not prevent the novel concept from turning into a success.

The weather changed overnight and the following day awoke to brilliant sunshine, drawing more than 1,000 spectators and 100 journalists. The world premiere of snow polo was born.

Since then, snow polo has been adopted around the world, but the St. Moritz tournament remains unrivaled. Being the only high-goal tournament on snow, St. Moritz is still the most important meeting place of the world snow polo community.

Adapted from


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