Mirror Staff Report

CRESTED BUTTE—So you’ve been good all year long, and you’ve kept off Santa’s naughty list. Now, take it to the next level–how about giving the bearded guy a hand this season, and helping your community too—put on your Santa suit and your skis, and join the fun at Crested Butte Ski Resort on Dec. 13!

All you need to do is walk into the Great Outdoors Company at 10 South Selig here in Montrose, and get your discounted $22 ski pass or a $25 pass that includes the suit and a special Santa Ski Pub Crawl—and wear your full Santa Suit when you head out on the mountain or to historic Downtown Crested Butte on Dec. 13. The group Santa Ski Crawl welcomes skiers of all ages. To get your discounted day pass, your Santa suit must have a top, bottom, hat and beard—and you must wear them to ski.

Shaun Matusewicz, who attended college at Western State before leaving to work for Nike for years, created the event to generate happiness and attention for Crested Butte and for those who like to ski and play here. This year, he hopes to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for most skiing Santas. In 2013 around 450-500 skiers donned hats, beards and suits and smiles; this year, Matusewicz wants to bring at least 1,000 skiing Santas to town. Santas are encouraged to be creative, and add their own individual finishing touches to the traditional red suit.

“Ultimately, we are just trying to put on an event that is fun,” Matusewicz said.

So far, the reviews are good. “It was a blast,” said Amy Stevens, who operates the Wanderlust Hostel in Gunnison. “I was a little apprehensive, but it was such a hit! People were having the time of their lives, all those Santas skiing down the mountain together was more fun than I ever expected.”

Stevens said she enjoyed the different ambience of the day-to-evening event.

“The Santa Ski Crawl is very family-friendly,” she said. “But the pub crawl is definitely for grownups! It became a wild Santa Dance Party!”

If you don’t happen to own a Santa suit, don’t despair—buy one on the mountain Dec. 13 for $20, or get yours for $25 with your Santa Pub Crawl ticket (Age 21 and over) or Great Outdoors Company in Montrose Dec. 1-7.

“It’s so exciting to see two business working together, helping our new outdoor retailers here in Montrose,” said local event coordinator Heather Zeilman, noting that Great Outdoors Company will remain open until 8 p.m. Dec. 1 so that skiers can come in to sign up. There will be festivities and hot chocolate on Saturday, Dec. 6 as well, she said.

“They’ll be giving away a Woolrich Thermos!” Zeilman said, “And there will be a drawing for a lift ticket and Santa suit. On the very last day, the grand prize will be an Osprey Mountain Ready Pack.

“We’re having fun, supporting a new business in Montrose, hoping to bring people through the doors!”

Though she is an experienced snowboarder herself, Zeilman said she hopes to learn to ski this season as well.

“Montrose is not a resort community, but we get to experience the excitement of having them nearby,” she said. “We get to recreate in such amazing places.”