Norway having 6 of the top 8 is depressing. The big catch for biathlon was the spread of potential winners from different nations compared to CC.
Yup, but in fairness men's biathlon has consistently had a smaller such spread than women's. Norway, Germany, France and Russia have contributed the vast majority of winners for quite a long time and dominated the relays for a decade now, with Sweden and Austria periodically challenging. Outliers have been few and far between, but there's always been a couple (Moravec, Hofer, Smolksii, Pidruchnyi, Fak), whereas among the women there are fewer teams with top-down strength so countries with a couple of strong athletes are capable of being major relay challengers (Czechs with Vitková and Soukalová, Slovakia with Kuzmina and Fialková, Belarus with Sola and Alimbekava and before them Skardino and Domracheva, Italy with Wierer and Vittozzi).
However, the Russians aren't able to compete due to the ban, the French men just don't seem to have got their mojo this year, Jacquelin didn't even qualify for today and QFM has been nothing on the man he has been the last couple of years, and the German men have been relying on the same core of Peiffer, Lesser, Schempp and Doll for years and three quarters of them are now retired. Their youth pipeline has been getting progressively weaker, with star juniors like Zobel and Riethmüller losing their way before they make it to the top level. Austria have really faded away since their older generation (and Dominik Landertinger) retired and are still alarmingly reliant on 39-year-old Simon Eder; Sweden are more like the women's teams I mention with half a strong team and half mid-tier guys, and of those two big guns they have Ponsiluoma is super inconsistent, and the Ukrainian team that always played stronger than the sum of its parts is for understandable and obvious reasons completely undercooked this season. The Italians might be the team of the future as Giacomel, Bionaz and a number of their junior talents look to be really good prospects, but for the time being they don't half miss Hofer and Dominik Windisch. Put those two in alongside the two youngsters mentioned and that's a threatening relay quartet.
The fact not even one athlete is underperforming to an extent that Endre Strømsheim can earn a spot in the team despite crushing the IBU Cup is miserable though, because the best IBU Cup athletes are Norskies too. And it's not like the Russians where they often dominate the IBU Cup because of vagaries of selection and politics that mean stronger athletes than necessary are at that level while the World Cup team underperforms, either. Maybe the fact their domestic scene is built on trade teams rather than regional squads as is the case in most other major nations is a factor, because it drives competition to a greater extent.