“When you’re on the chairlift, you look back as you’re getting off, and the whole chairlift is full of Santas. It’s kind of freaky, actually.”

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NEWRY, Maine — Santa and his helpers hit the ski slopes to spread holiday cheer Sunday.

All told, a mob of 150 right jolly ol’ elves hopped on skis and snowboards for the 16th annual Skiing Santas event at Sunday River ski resort.

The event serves as a festive kickoff to the holiday season.

“It’s really fun because everyone is a little wild and crazy,” said Catherine Bolender, 53, of Waterboro, who’s been participating for about a dozen years. “It’s a fun, festive event.”

Thom Bureau, a snowboarder, agreed that it’s chaotic — and unforgettable.

“When you’re on the chairlift, you look back as you’re getting off, and the whole chairlift is full of Santas. It’s kind of freaky, actually,” he said.

Resort officials say the event raised a little more than $3,000 for the Sunday River Community Fund, a local charity.

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