If your mental image of Old St. Nick is of a jolly fat man sitting on his duff for hours on end, it's safe to say you've never been to Samnaun, Switzerland. In this village in the Swiss Alps, Santa runs, skis, climbs and snowshoes like an Olympian.
Or make that Olympians, as 60 of them will convene here on Saturday to compete in ClauWau, aka, the World Championship of Santa Clauses. Between the offbeat events and other festivities, we suspect these guys (and girls) aren't fueling their efforts with cookies and milk.
According to event manager Josef Schmid, the festivities are an outgrowth of a local tradition in which residents would toss sweets and candies to children as the latter walked the streets, singing songs and playing music.
"ClauWau," said Schmid, "is like a reward; it means to pick up something."
These days, the competing Clauses don't pick up candy, but rather, packages that provide bonus points during a series of team events.
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