5 things you didn’t know about Petter Northug

All you need to know about the athlete and TV star before the Nordic Ski opening this weekend.

Cross-country ski champion, Petter Northug
Cross-country ski champion, Petter Northug

The Norwegian Petter Northug is the most succesful male cross-country skier of all time in terms of World Championship titles. He also has two Olympic gold medals, along with a large assortment of other silverware and victories. The only thing missing from his CV is a win at the coveted multi-stage race, the Tour de Ski, that starts again on January 1, 2016.

Much has been written about Petter, including that he likes to provoke and push the limits. His strengths on the snow are indisputable and successes widely reported – but here are five things you may not have known:

Petter Northug training at the altitude camp.
Petter Northug training at the altitude camp

1) Petter has his own TV channel

Petter is not just a skier; he is a superstar in his native Norway. For two years he had his own reality show called Circus Northug on two national TV channels, allowing fans to follow his adventures on the snow, training camps (see above) and in private. From this autumn, Petter launched his own TV channel - check out www.northugtv.no for his selection of entertainment, including sit-downs with leading politicians, and training tips. Subscribers can even access his online training diary, which most other Nordic racers keep top secret!

Petter and his brother Tomas celebrating in Falun
Petter and his brother Tomas celebrating in Falun

2) There are three Petter Jrs

Petter is not the only skier in Family Northug. In fact, the family Northug enterprise features an entire Team Northug, directed by the father and administered by the mother. The soon-to-turn-30 older bro Petter has two younger brothers, 24-year-old Tomas, who now is a World Cup winner in his own right, and 20-year-old Even, who won the Norwegian Junior national title last year. Before we know it, the Northug trio will have joined forces to dominate the snow in Norway and beyond…

Petter Northug in action
Petter Northug in action

3) Petter has quite the poker face

Back in 2010, Petter and a fellow cross-country champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden played poker in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker, the world’s largest poker tournament.

Sponsored by a Norwegian magazine, the Scandinavian duo also raced a roller ski duel at the famous Palms Hotel and Casino for additional excitement. Northug survived in the lucrative field, ended up cashing out and finished in 653rd place. He is hoping to return to Las Vegas to play in the Poker World Championships in the not too distant future!

Petter Northug racing in Val di Fiemme, Italy in 2015
Petter is 'slightly' faster than the competition

4) Petter has a special love for the Swedes

Norway and Sweden are the two nations competing for ultimate glory in Nordic skiing. No wonder then that Petter is a keen observer of all things Swedish. He loves to express pointed opinions about his competitors, but also topics such as the strength of the Swedish currency, the crown, and even the Swedish King, Carl Gustav has received his share of Northug love. But he also makes fun of himself with them, in his way…To highlight this special relationship, Petter collaborated with a Swedish musical artist Shajan Ghanfili to produce a song they called Jävla Norrbagge, or F%&#ing Norwegian.

5) Petter’s produced his own music video

Petter invited Norwegian artist Jacob Øyre Gundersen, known as Jack Taylor, to record a mood song for him for the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden, entitled Rise Again. It‘s a song about getting on one’s feet and fighting back. The song was Petter’s idea, which undeniably worked out to a tee: he went on to win a whopping four gold medals on Swedish snow last February!

There will be more chapters to the Northug story. Make sure to follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook.