MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Winter sporting fever is taking over northwest Wisconsin this weekend.

Right across the border in Hayward, skiers from around the world are competing in a line-up of events. It’s all a part of the American Birkebeiner.

Friday skiers competed in two different races: a 29K, which is more than 18 miles, and a 15K, which is around nine miles.

The big race is Saturday. Skiers will tackle more than 30 miles.

This is North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon.

“Lots of people out having a good time, doing something fun. Skiing through the woods and just going,” Maple Grove resident and skier Charlie Aarnos said. “A little soft out there. But it was better than ice, better than grass. And better than last year. It was awesome.”

Last year was a tough season for the Birkie crew.  The main race had to be canceled because there wasn’t enough snow.

Even if you’re not racing this weekend, there’s still plenty to do in Hayward.  Spectators can enjoy a ski expo, a fat bike demo, a movie premiere and meeting the elite athletes.

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