— Petter Northug recently took the plunge and signed a long-term contract with the Norwegian Ski Association, eliminating any speculation that he might compete privately, TV2.no reported.
The three-year contract was an exception for the reigning world champion; the federation usually asks athletes to commit to one year. Northug’s manager, Åge Skinstad, said he felt confident in the decision since it ended discussions over whether Northug should rejoin the team.
— Swedish national team member Fredrik Karlsson, 27, died in a snowmobile accident last Thursday in Bruksvallsfjällen, Sweden, Langrenn reported. Two weeks ago, he was a member of the winning relay at Swedish Championships (with Daniel Richardsson and Fredrik Jonsson) and topped the podium at national and Scandinavian Cup races this season.
Part of Sweden’s development squad, “Team 2015,” Karlsson rented a snowmobile on Thursday, his last off day before his final competitions in Bruksvallarna, Sweden. According to police on the scene, poor visibility caused by snow and wind may have been a factor.
— Both Norway and France recently named their 2012/2013 national teams, and complete lists are posted on FIS News. Of note, the Norwegian Ski Association put Heidi Weng and Niklas Dyrhaug on its distance teams and Paal Golberg on the sprint squad. The French Ski Federation renamed Christophe Deloche head coach and sprint coach Mathieu Fort. Anaël Huard will coach the women’s team, which includes Laure Barthelemy, Anouk Faivre Picon and Aurore Jean. Jean Marc Gaillard and Maurice Manificat are expected to lead the men’s team.