The Swiss winter resort of Samnaun is set to host its first Santa Claus World championships in a festival celebrating Saint Nick.This content was published on November 26, 2001 - 13:55
Samnaun, located in the Engadine a few kilometres from the Austrian Tirol, hopes the international gathering of Santas on December 1 will open its winter sport season with good cheer.
"The world championship comprises team competitions, (teams of four, women welcome) in which play, fun and action take pride of place," organisers said.
No prior skills are required for the seven disciplines, which include: chimney climbing; Glüh-wine rally; Santa-ski; reindeer rodeo; Christmas tree dragging; horn toboggan track; and Santa show.
The "prominent jury of former or present world champions" will be on the lookout for style and quality, while Santas with "a certain level of fitness" are advised they will be better placed to complete the disciplines.
The lucky winner will go down in sporting history and receive prize money worth SFr8,500. Later, at the Santa party, the Singing Santas will be among guest stars receiving top billing.
The teams will produce a show judged by spectators and the jury.
The real Saint Nicholas lived in the fourth century, and Samnaun children celebrate his life with an annual procession when they don a white beard and the traditional red attire and walk through the village.
Samnaun hopes to attract more visitors to the resort, located about 1800m above sea level. It has about 200km of ski trails and boasts being "a duty-free oasis."
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