For the eleventh consecutive year the international polo community descended on the picturesque village of Kitzbühel last weekend to enjoy a fabulous four-day snow polo tournament.
Second only to the annual Hahnenkamm downhill ski race, the Valartis Bank Snow Polo World Cup is one of the two highlights on Kitzbühel’s social calendar. Founded, organized and hosted by Miami based debonaire Tito Gaudenzi, the event featured eight international teams with top players from Argentina, USA, Germany, Brazil, the UK, and the Netherlands.
Sadly the first round of play on Friday saw locals Team Kitzbühel and Bernd Gruber take defeats while last year’s winner Team AUDI along with Team Parmigiani, captained by German actor Heino Ferch breezed through to the semi finals. In the evening the teams headed to Kitzbühel’s Hotel Zur Tenne for their Captains’ Dinner before checking in at club Take Five for a warm up session, which, courtesy of the tournament’s Miami based resident DJ EROK, lasted until the early morning hours.
Not surprisingly, Saturday morning was slightly grim, not only because of the sub zero temperatures and thick clouds in the sky but also because of the shadows under everyone’s eyes. Thanks to the superb efforts of the Optimahl catering team and the never-ending supply of Gösser beer, however, everyone got back to strength for an exciting round of semi finals.
The highlight on Saturday was the invitation-only Polo Players night in the packed VIP tent. Lifestyle Events Founder and host Tito Gaudenzi welcomed his guests and introduced players, teams, and sponsors before leaving the stage to the fabulous Lina Liberted and her band Uma Galera. You haven’t heard of them? You will, trust me (they are only five months old). Afterwards it was once again DJ EROK who supplied the beats and kept the crowd on their feet. Further details of the evening will not be revealed… Except for one: car sponsor AUDI must have been happy as beautiful V10 R8 displayed in the tent and worth over EUR 180’000, was sold before dessert was served.
By Sunday the clouds had disappeared and the sun lit up the field just in time for the last games. Both sides of the field had spectators galore, cheering their teams in the finals as last year’s winners, the all English Team AUDI defended their title against a very strong Team Luxury. In the Consolation round it was Team Bernd Gruber around Brazilian MVP Marcus Schalldach who took the Kitzbühel Cup home. Congratulations to all the teams for an outstanding tournament!
Organizer Tito Gaudenzi put together a fabulous event yet again and only one thing was missing to make it perfect: his own team’s victory. But as Valartis Bank committed to the event for the next couple of years I reckon the best is yet to come!
Until then it’s all eyes on next week’s Hahnenkamm race, stay tuned.
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