Great White NORTH STYLE
Canada’s first snow polo tournament thrilled its audience and
offered the Mont-Tremblant area an opportunity to shine.
BY MARIA LENHART
Take the excitement of a hockey game and combine it with the elegance of an international polo match and you’ll get an inkling of what Snow Polo Tremblant is all about. Held in the ski resort enclave of Mont-Tremblant in the Lauren- tian Mountains of Québec, Snow Polo Tremblant
made its debut in February 2015 as a test match in which
two teams of ace polo riders confronted each other on a
snowy field, wielding mallets to send a brightly colored ball
flying over the powder into the opposition goal.
This year, Snow Polo Tremblant was expanded into a full-fledged, three-day tournament during which four international teams, including one representing Canada, competed
in a series of matches.
The test match took place on the frozen surface of Lac
Tremblant and pitted a team of Canadian players against an
international team. At the end of the match, members of the
Royal Canadian Mountain Police presented the victorious
Canadians with the first Snow Polo Tremblant World Cup.
“Our test match was successful beyond our wildest
dreams—we were expecting 150 VIPs to attend and we got
440,” says co-founder Herb Ratsch, a real estate executive
and former sales director for Intrawest, the developer of
Mont-Tremblant’s resort facilities. “We also had over 3,000
Snow polo is just the latest addition to a wide range of
special events and activity options that draw both tourists
and meeting groups to Mont-Tremblant year round. While
not equipped for large conventions, the
destination is ideally suited for small
to mid-sized meeting and incentive
programs, according to Ratsch, who fre-
quently worked with meeting groups
during his tenure with Intrawest.
“What really makes Mont-Tremblant
great for meetings is that it’s park and
play—everything is within walking dis-
tance from one another,” he says. “You
don’t need shuttle busses. The hotels,
restaurants, the lake, skiing and golf are
all in a compact area.”
The second-oldest ski resort in
North America (after Sun Valley, Idaho),
Mont-Tremblant originally opened
for business in 1939. However, much
of what visitors see today is relatively
new, the result of the resort’s 1991
acquisition by Intrawest, which has also
redefined such winter sports meccas as
Whistler, British Columbia, and Squaw
Valley, Calif. The nucleus of Mont-Tremblant is a Europe-
an-style pedestrian village offering a lively mix of hotels,
restaurants, shops and activity centers.
Located in the heart of the village, the Tremblant Conference Centre is the resort’s largest non-hotel meeting facility,
offering 10,500 square feet of meeting space that includes
boardrooms with fireplaces and an outdoor terrace that
handles up to 150.