MINNEAPOLIS - The American Birkebeiner is North America's largest cross-country ski race; a 35-mile marathon through the woods of Wisconsin that ends with a 200-foot bridge into Hayward, Wisconsin.
"You know, the American Birkebeiner International Bridge is really our baby. It never leaves Hayward," said Ben Popp, the executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.
Well, until now.
The Birkebeiner Bridge in pieces, loaded, strapped down, and trucked through town, headed 150 miles south to downtown Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.
"Today, we have the first sections of the American Birkebeiner Bridge, which will be a 200-foot bridge, spanning Nicollet Mall," said Michael Howard, with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
The Birkebeiner Bridge will be built over 9th Street. It's 16 feet high, so traffic can still travel under. Once it's finished, they'll need 12 dump trucks full of snow to cover it, and then it'll be ready for Super Bowl LIVE, the 10-day free outdoor festival.
"Skijoring, fat-tire bike racing, cross-country skiing, and opportunities for our Super Bowl LIVE visitors to really get a flavor of winter in the Bold North," said Howard.
That's bold because the bridge is big. It's going to take 12 semis to get all of the pieces here, then construction starts Saturday.
Back in Wisconsin, they're proud their heritage can help out.
"The history of the American Birkebeiner goes all the way back to 1206, when those two Vikings warriors rescued the Prince that then later became the greatest king of Norway," said Popp.
Vikings as the heroes, huh?
We sure hope so.