Gstaad : The “Alpine Garden of Eden”
Fly into Zurich and drive to Gstaad’s city center to experience nature in elevations that will make you feel liberated, powerful, and insignificant – all at the same time. Imagine driving across the winding roads that climb the edges of the Alps. You and your closest friends and family look down to see the forests and chalet-filled valleys at the base of the mountains and gaze up to see the snow-covered glistening peaks. Imagine stepping out of the car and walking up to the entrance of an 18th century alpine-style chalet sitting in a seemingly untouched meadow: the “Alpine Garden of Eden”. You look out the window past hares and sheep to admire the breathtaking mountainous landscape. It’s a 24-degree August day, and you and your family are looking forward to a polo-filled Sunday in the Alps.
The Gstaad Polo Club is home to the Hublot Polo Gold Cup – a high-level polo tournament hosting world-class polo athletes from Europe, Argentina, and other regions of the world. It is Sunday morning, and you and your family pack back into the car to take the winding roads to the Gstaad-Saanen airport field, where the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad is hosted. Although a temporary setup, the facility is nothing short of extravagant. You park your car between a black Lamborghini Aventador and a yellow Ferrari F50. Some celebrities and royals arrive by helicopter (a transportation staple of the swiss alps). After carefully stepping out of the car, you stroll past red and gold stables of 120 thoroughbred horses to arrive at the white-tent entrance of the club. Each of the 6500 spectators is dressed in their finest luxury clothing. You spend your day watching Marcos di Paola of Argentina compete against Olavo Novaes of Brazil in their finest polo apparel. Polo’s “King of Sports” and “Sport of Kings” nickname is only fitting for polo played in the Alps.
In addition to competitive Polo, the Gstaad Polo Club offers entertainment like glider air shows and extravagant parades. Children will experience hours of amusement as they bounce between the polo fields, club tents, and air shows. If you’re looking to get a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne and hopefully take a seat between Julie Andrews and Prince Harry, you can leave your children at the “Kinder-Paradise” child care center and head to the VIP tents.
Gstaad Polo Club History
In 1995, president Pierre Genecand “moved mountains” when he founded the Gstaad Polo Club. Every August (since 1995) sees the transformation of the Gstaad-Saanen Airport into the Gstaad Polo Club. It is uncommon, and typically impossible, to put polo fields in the mountainous Alps, but the generosity of the Gstaad Airport has allowed Gstaad to become one of the world’s most unique and breathtaking polo locations in the world.
Today, the tournament is sponsored by Hublot, Banque Eric Sturdza, Clinique La Prairie, and Gstaad Palace. On Fridays, the world-class teams and magnificent horses parade through Gstaad to set the tone for a marvelous and picturesque weekend of polo in the Alps.
Swiss Polo in the Winter
Winter in Gstaad is just as breathtaking as summer in Gstaad. In fact, St. Moritz Snow Polo Club, less than a five hours’ drive from Gstaad, holds the world’s only high-goal polo tournament on snow. Polo in the alps just got even more unique! St. Moritz was established in 1985 and has held the world’s top snow polo tournament every year since. Playing winter polo at this elevation calls for perfectly tailored snow polo jackets to ensure the players move freely, keep their body temperature regulated, and look unstoppable. Of course, the horse protection from the cold is worn in style as well. Beautiful tailor made suits are fitted to each thoroughbred horse to ensure they are comfortable (and stunning) throughout the entirety of the snowy weekend.
Imagine you and your family are back in an 18th century chalet. This time, the snow is falling and the chalet feels warm and cozy. Your family spent the past three days skiing down the beautiful slopes of the swiss alps. Your ski trip is over, and you leave the chalet sunday morning for a snowy drive through the mountains until you arrive at St. Moritz Snow Polo Club. Glistening mountain peaks surround the field, and spectators are dressed in fur coats and wool pants. Magnificent horses gallop through the snow in front of the mountains, something you’d only imagine seeing in a mystical dream. Servers in cashmere scarves deliver cold beer and hot wine on silver platters. Experiencing the St. Moritz Snow Polo Club is experiencing a luxurious winter wonderland.