We asked Katriona Shrives to tell us about a women’s polo tournament on the snow!
Katriona Shrives started to play polo when she was 17. She played for one season at the Beaufort Pony Club before heading out to New Zealand where she spent eight months playing in the South Island. Like many players she caught the polo bug and when she came back to the UK she knew she had to continue to play. She attended Royal Holloway University London where she continued to play for the university polo club. In her second year she was president of the university polo club and grew it from six to thirty two members. After University she had to give up polo as she moved to London to start work. After 3 years working in Emerging market Telecoms she decided to leave it all behind and travel around Colombia. Here her passion for polo was ignited again, she played almost every day at Bocheritos Polo Club with the local Colombian players. During this time she decided to start her company AdAstra Adventures and in 2015 she took the first groups out to Colombia to play. One of the groups was a ladies team to compete in a ladies cup at the Bogota Polo Club. In 2016 the company started to expand to other destination and now she focuses on taking players to unusual places around the world to indulge in a sport the love. Many of her clients are women and students as they are often the players looking for new adventures and prefer to travel with other budding polo enthusiasts.
In 2016 AdAstra Adventures teamed up with Women in Polo (WIP) and took 3 ladies teams out to Bad Gastein to compete in the inaugural Ladies Snow Polo Tournament. It was going to be everyone’s first experience of playing on snow so the excitement in the group was electric.
We were a group of eighteen, six players and all our supporters. As we drove up into the mountains the snow got deeper and deeper and our excitement grew. We arrived at the fabulous 5* Europaischer Hof hotel, dropped our bags off and then headed up to the field to try out the ponies and get our first experience of polo on snow.
The snow takes a bit of getting used to, it’s a little bouncier than arena and hitting the ball is slightly harder. But once you’ve got your eye in and feel confident the ponies won’t fall over it is one of the most exciting surfaces to play on.
During the days we relaxed at the spa or hit the slopes after enjoying one of the best breakfast spreads I have ever seen. We headed up to the field at around 4pm wrapped up and ready to play. The atmosphere was incredible, the snow fell gently against the setting sun, music played ramping up the crowds who were coming off the slopes at the end of the day to watch us play. By the end of the weekend we had fantastic support from all the locals, some were even stopping the girls asking for their autographs!
The tournament ran over 3 days and there were 6 teams with ladies flying in from around the world to compete. Each team had 2 players and on average we were -2 – 0 goal teams. At first I wasn’t sure how 2 aside would work but it was amazing, every player had to work hard for their team meaning everyone felt like they had achieved something when they came off the field.
To watch was thrilling, as we watched the girls battle it out on the field I couldn’t have been prouder. Our teams did amazingly bringing in first, second and third place.
This tournament however wasn’t about the winning ! It was about new polo experiences while meeting other female players from around the world with the same passion. Clare Mcnamara commented that she was ‘Hooked on Snow Polo’ which I think summed up the whole experience.
We are really excited to be heading back for the 2017 Snow Polo tour and due to the success of last year we’ll be extending the ladies tour to an additional two destination. If you’d like to give snow polo a try for yourself get in touch and reserve your space now.
LADIES TOUR DATES:
- Kulm, Styria (AUT): Jan 13 – 15
- Teichalm, Styria (AUT): Feb 2 – 5
- Bad Gastein, Salzburg (AUT): Feb 16 – 19