Monthly Archives: February 2012

Switzerland’s Passion for Winter Polo

Introduction of Brioni and Cartier teams.

The Black Hills has experienced strange weather recently, but we are happy to report it is now a winter wonderland with snow predicted to fall through Tuesday.  That’s terrific news for us cold weather enthusiasts!  And, if you have perused our Facebook page and blog, you may have noticed your friends at Newton Fork Ranch harbor multiple passions.  Just to name a few: snow, travel, chocolate, and polo.  And, as luck would have it, there is a special part of the world where all four of these passions converge each year on a magical January weekend: St. Moritz.

Cartier team player sets-up a near-side backhand shot.

If you have followed Black Hills polo you may know it had its start in the 30s with the Calvary boys at Fort Meade. Similarly, polo in St. Moritz got its start even earlier (in 1899) when the British troops played as part of their military maneuvers. The present day St. Moritz Polo Club formed in 1959 and hosts year-round games, including one of our favorite events: the St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow.  Having attended the Cartier vs. Brioni match, we can attest that it is an experience like no other.  Photos here capture a portion of that magic.

Classic defensive move alters Brioni play.

We are sad to report though that, for the first time in its 28-year history, the 2012 event was cancelled disappointing fans and sponsors Cartier, Deutsche Bank, Ralph Lauren, and BMW.  The St. Moritz Lake Commission deemed the iced-over playing surface of Lake St. Moritz too thin and posed a danger to players and spectators.  But as the late Paul Lippman, our own Rushmore Polo and Social Club founder was fond of saying, “better days ahead!”

So here is a toast in hopes of a record snowfall this week in the Hills and a return of the extraordinary St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow in 2013!

In closely matched game, Cartier prevails in 3 - 2.5 win over Brioni.

Get Thee to a W(h)inery!

Having reluctantly just joined the social media sphere, we are intimately familiar with whining. We know people are connecting with each other through the Internet at unheard of rates these days. And truthfully, our hesitation to dialog socially was becoming unevenly balanced with the heady prospect of being able to share our passion for travel, Newton Fork Ranch, and the surrounding Black Hills.  So, we finally “bit the bullet” and recently created a Facebook page.  Then, quicker than one could possibly “Like,” it was suggested that we start a blog.  Oh my gosh, what’s next?  Surely, people understand that only birds are supposed to “tweet” in the Hills!

All right, admittedly there’s a fair amount of whining going on here.  But please understand, at Newton Fork Ranch, we have always encouraged people to put down the cell phones, leave the televisions at home, and come to the ranch to rest, relax, reflect, and re-energize.  As one of our guests so pithily penned in a guest book a few years ago: “It’s day three and my kids have finally quit staring at the blank wall waiting for a television to appear!”

But our whining about social media got us thinking.  What is there, for a committed whiner to do, in the beautiful and pristine Black Hills?  You know, when there is a lack of distraction combined with time and energy to spare?  Can you see it coming?  Get thee to a w(h)inery!

All punning aside, this former gold mining town of Hill City has given up the bootleg liquor (more on that in another post) and has taken up fruit juice with a kick!  Here’s the local scoop: the first to open in the area was Prairie Berry Winery. The Vojta family has been making grape, fruit, and honey wines since 1876 starting with, yep, berries on the prairie.  Their winery, complete with a bistro, is housed in an artful structure that could have been plucked from Napa Valley.  One of the most popular selections is “Red Ass Rhubarb.” They have awards too numerous to count; the most recent is best of class in the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Prairie Berry’s move to Hill City in 2004 was followed by Stone Faces Winery in 2009.  Their award-winning wine is produced by Valiant Vineyards in Vermillion.  Established by Eldon Nygaard and his wife and family, it is known as the “Oldest winery in South Dakota.”  Stone Faces is their second Valiant Vineyards winery. Their “Sturgis” blends and “Full Throttle” are area favorites.

The most recent addition to the ever-growing Hill City wine corridor is Naked Winery… good thing it’s a mild winter, eh?  Their aim seems to be to combine love and romance.  And the names of the wines, with double entendres such as, oh never mind, you’ll have to go find out for yourself, add to their brand uniqueness.  We certainly have a meeting of the minds on their mission statement: “We believe every couple should turn off their TVs, open up a bottle.”

So here’s to spending a lovely evening at Newton Fork Ranch cuddled up in front of the fire, lifting a glass of local wine, and toasting your decision to turn off and tune in… to the true conversation!

Tagged , , , , , , ,