In St. Moritz, Reto Gaudenzi is very well known, in many respects. His family has been rooted in this region for more than 700 years and Gaudenzi himself led the “first house on the square”, the legendary Badrutt’s Palace, as director for several years.
However, his hometown adores the charming hotelier most for an idea which many thought of as crazy in the mid-1980s. Reto Gaudenzi launched the Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz, which attracted the international jet set to his home town in droves. What started as a global novelty in 1985 has been emulated numerous times around the globe. However, St. Moritz is and always will be the Wimbledon of Snow Polo events: Frequently copied but never matched.
Mr Polo is back, a great many said three years ago, when Reto Gaudenzi took over the reins again from Urs Schwarzenbach after years of abstinence. Sponsors and the international jet set were equally enthusiastic. The heaps of advance praise were linked to very expectations. And Reto Gaudenzi, innovative as always, delivered.
Hardly anyone else masters the game of networking as expertly as he does, which benefits not only his event. The Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz itself has a budget of around 2 million Swiss Francs; however, it generates more than 10 million Swiss Francs for the region, making it an important economic factor for St. Moritz and surroundings.
In Reto Gaudenzi’s opinion, the reasons are clear: “The Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz is a luxury product and is specifically marketed as such. It therefore benefits everyone in the region. Marketing is always top down. If the 5-star hotel is doing well, the demand for accommodation in 3 and 4-star hotels will also increase. The same applies to trade. Luxury boutiques attract the rich and the beautiful, whose vacationing and shopping turns any place into a point attraction for numerous “normal tourists”, bringing along increased revenues for local dealers.”
The Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz is a lifestyle product gladly purchased by the sponsors. This is documented by the long-term sponsoring contracts Gaudenzi was able to conclude with the Deutsche Bank, Maserati, the Badrutt’s Palace and Cartier. With a broad smile, he says: “We deliver what our sponsors, who have their worldwide best customers flown to St. Moritz, expect of us: first class quality and an unforgettable sports and social event in the snow-covered heart of the Engadin.
As usual for Reto Gaudenzi, he also has a few aces up his sleeve for the 2018 Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz. The American Melissa Ganzzi, having been a welcome guest in St. Moritz for many years, and the Russian Janna Bandurko sees two ladies entering the Snow Arena as Captain for the very first time. Ganzzi will be bringing a world-class player, a public attraction of note, along to St. Moritz. But we won’t be telling you who this is, at least not at this point. However, our readers know that Polo Luxury & Country Life Magazine has been a media partner of the Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz for many years, and will disclose this secret in the foreseeable future.
An additional highlight will be the participation of a team from Azerbaijan. Reto Gaudenzi has been organising polo events in Azerbaijan for 5 years. He will also incorporate his experience as the developer and organiser of polo events spanning more than 30 years, when Azerbaijan will be hosting the European Polo Championships in 2020. “Organisation is like playing polo,” laughs Reto Gaudenzi. “You need a captain and a good team, in which everyone fits their positions and where harmonious interactions lead to success.” And Reto Gaudenzi, himself a five-time winner at the Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz, is a master, be it as the captain of a polo team or as the Head of the Snow Polo World Cup St Moritz.
Photo credit: Kathrin Gralla