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Champagne, oysters and polo in St Moritz

Scott Barbour/Getty

This weekend, says Eleanore Kelly in Air Mail, 100 private jets are descending on St Moritz’s tiny Samedan airport, to deliver some of the world’s “most influential and dazzlingly beautiful people” to the ultimate “high-net-worth hoedown”. On a frozen Alpine lake 6,000ft above sea level, six teams will do battle for the Snow Polo World Cup. Since it began in 1985, the “three-day extravaganza” has grown in popularity and excess. This year’s 25,000 attendees will pop an estimated 5,000 bottles of Perrier-Jouët champagne alone, to go with oysters and caviar prepared by the “famed movie-star hideaway Badrutt’s Palace Hotel”.

The event is a logistical nightmare. Planners have to “hope and pray” the lake freezes well enough to hold the temporary grandstand, which weighs as much as 80 elephants. The 120 polo ponies, which are more accustomed to the warmer climes of Argentina and Palm Beach, have to get used to the –17C temperatures, and be fitted with special studs to steady them on the ice. But it’s not all bad: after the big match, they return to St Moritz’s $4m “horse palace”, where they’re fed sweet mountain hay and fresh spring water. The whole thing makes for a “unique spectacle”. The sight of ponies galloping across a frozen lake “could give even the most jaded Euro billionaire a frisson”.