I’m not recommending a break to crystal clear water, blue skies and blazing sunshine – this is, after all, an extreme sports site! So what I’m suggesting is a winter break in more salubrious surroundings. Perhaps Wengen? or Murren or perhaps Klosters – all excellent resorts in their own right and all with good snow so far this year so the skiing is fabulous.
As you might have gathered, it hasn’t been a classic year for snow yet in the Alps… and how irritated some of you Europeans must have become as I sang the praises of Colorado and British Columbia!
However, St. Moritz is in a class of it’s own this year and on top of their perfect snow, the annual racing events are about to happen. The peak of the winter social season takes place on the frozen lake at St Moritz. This year’s White Turf Horse Races are on the weekends of February 6th, 13th and 20th.
Racing on snow began in 1907 in St. Moritz and since then has attracted the glitz and glamour of society and as you can see from the above video – it’s not just flat racing. There’s trotting too and the only skijoring race in the world is held here – where intrepid men and women on skis are pulled along at high speed by unmounted horses.
If you’re really clever you can tie your trip in with a spectacular polo on snow tournament. Polo is a sport that combines strength, elegance, speed, pride and the traditional British love of fair play! It is also considered an extreme sport – ask any sports’ insurer… polo is up there with the best of them, and polo on snow takes that extreme-ness just one step further.
The St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow began today. It is the world’s most prestigious winter polo tournament. Four high-goal teams with handicaps between 15 and 18 goals battle for the coveted Trophy on the frozen surface of Lake St. Moritz. Players from Argentina, Chile, the UK, Australia and other countries give of their best. For the four days of the tournament, there are two top-quality matches daily, culminating in the grand finale on Sunday.
The frozen St. Moritz lake is at an altitude of 1,800 metres. This places exceptional demands on man and horse alike. It requires the highest concentration, strength, finesse, courage and endurance – both from the ponies and their riders.
In glorious sunshine today France played Germany in the opening game of the tournament. It was a great spectator game – fast paced and exciting. France set the pace from the beginning and defeated Germany 5-3.
This is no ordinary game of polo – the World Cup on Snow is a yearly feature and some of the best players in the world come to play here. The 4 countries, France, England, Germany and Switzerland with their international teams, will compete at the highest level for the coveted trophy.