Polo on snow made its debut in Cortina d‘Ampezzo in 1989, following the example set by a similar event organised in St. Moritz in 1985. It was organised by three Roman friends with a passion for polo – Italo Focacci, Fabrizio Bogiankino and Corrrado Pantanella – joined by Renato Manaigo, the well-known and respected owner of Cortina’s Hotel de la Poste, always in search of innovation and elegance.
The first location chosen was the frozen lake of Landro, between Cortina and Dobbiaco, where four teams challenged each other in a tournament played in front of spectators that consisted mainly of the players’ families and friends as well as polo fans. Teams from Italy, England, Holland and Belgium played in what was then called the ‘Presidential Cup’.
Two years later a decision was made to create a polo field on Lake Misurina, in a magnificent open and sunny position at the feet of mountains rising to an altitude of three thousand metres. It was certainly the best playing field one could imagine!
The year 2002 marked the beginning of a totally new series called the ‘Cortina Winter Polo Gold Cup’ which was a great success.
In 2013 and 2014, due to the lack of ice formed over Lake Misurina, polo on snow matches were played at the Antonella De Rigo Sports Centre in Fiames, bordering on the Alemagna Road.
In 2020 Cortina d’Ampezzo hosted the debut of the Italia Polo Challenge with the first ever polo on snow match played under floodlights, using the Arena Polo format with teams consisting of three players and played in a smaller field. Another test event was organised in 2021 before at last inaugurating the 2022 four teams tournament.
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Italia: The Italia Polo Challenge is a series currently involving three immensely enchanting locations, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Rome’s Piazza di Siena and Porto Cervo. This challenge was an idea presented by the Argentinean player Patricio Rattagan, who has become the event manager in cooperation with the Italian Equestrian Sport’s Federations Polo Department. Italia Polo Challenge was officially inaugurated in May 2019 in Roma, with a quadrangular tournament greeted with great success by spectators at the Villa Borghese Galoppatoio during the Piazza di Siena international horse show. In 2020 the same success greeted the Italia Polo Challenge’s debut on snow in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Unfortunately this was the only event held that year due to the spreading of Covid. In 2021 instead the Italia Polo Challenge at last kicked into gear with three tournaments organised in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Rome and Porto Cervo. Cortina 2022 was therefore the sixth event in this adventurous Italia Polo Challenge.