Santa and his helpers hit the ski slopes to spread some holiday cheer on Sunday. All told, a mob of 150 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.

Thom Bureau, a snowboarder, agreed that it's chaotic - and unforgettable. "The whole chairlift is full of Santas. It's kind of freaky, actually," he said.

Participants were required to donate at least $15 to a local charity, the Sunday River Community Fund. In exchange, they were allowed to ski free and receive another lift ticket good through Dec. 18. Resort officials say the event raised a little more than $3,000. - AP