The winter season in Samnaun kicks off at the beginning of December with the annual Clau Wau Santa Claus World Championships.

The eighth Clau Wau Santa Claus World Championship will be held Dec. 6, 2008. More than 100 Santas will compete in the event, which begins with all the participating santas parading through the village centre at 12:45 p.m.

The qualification round at 1 p.m. involves timed tasks, such as chimney climbing, donkey trekking, and gingerbread decorating. The 16 best teams qualify for the finals in the evening. The finals feature the Santa Ski, Horn Sledge Race, and the Santa Show.

The Samnaun Tourist Office says: "The unconquerable chimneys are packed full of sacks and presents which have to be quickly surmounted and unruly pine trees are blocking the way on the downhill ski race."

At the end of the performance the team to have gathered the most points from the competitions is the winner; can officially call itself the "Santa Claus World Champions."

The resort of Samnaun is located in Silvretta Arena Samnaun/Ischgl - the biggest ski area of the eastern Alps. It unites the two winter sports centres of Samnauan on the Swiss side and Ischgl on the Austrian side. The area offers limitless skiing with 230 kilometres of piste.

Visit OnTheSnow.com's 2008 Holiday Guide for a library of news stories and features about special holiday events from visits by Santa (even his reindeer) to where the best parties are planned for New Year's Eve at the world's mountain resorts.