For Immediate Release 

Wednesday January 3, 2023

First Paw Media Acquires Team and Trail

Anchorage, Alaska, USA– Robert Forto and Michele Forto, the owners of Mushing Magazine, dog mushers, and technology entrepreneurs are on a mission to become a historian of sorts for the sport of dog sledding.

At an interesting moment in sled dog sports with a convergence of media platforms holding a stake, the entrepreneurs have been in the creative media space for more than two decades developing properties to create a robust community, they have purchased Team and Trail from the family that started writing the acclaimed newsletter from their home near Laconia, New Hampshire.

Along with, the Mushing Magazine, podcast channel and YouTube channel, with a combined reach of over three-million unique visitors, the Forto’s strive to become a media sovran by harboring what could easily be the best historical record of the sport of dog sledding in the country. 

“We started negotiations for the acquisition of Team and Trail earlier this past summer when I was attending a sled dog conference in Wisconsin,” Robert Forto said. “I was sitting down at dinner with Johnn Molberg and he said, ‘you need to get with my sister Deborah, she is holding onto all of my mom’s work she did with Team and Trail, we need to find a way to archive this and keep it alive’.”

After a few rounds of phone calls, the Forto’s flew to New Hampshire from Alaska and sat down with Deborah Molberg Bicknell and worked out a deal. In her living room, near Laconia, a hotbed in the sprint mushing community in days gone by, were stacked boxes and boxes of the old, yellowing magazines and newsletters. You could literally smell the history,” states Michele Forto.

The Laconia Sled Dog Derby held in the area since the 1920s attracted men like, Leonard Seppala. His dog team toured the country, giving presentations and participating in local sled dog races. He eventually developed a strong relationship with some of Laconia’s mushers and established long-term ties with the community.  That connection to Seppala, combined with the support of Boston Globe owner Mosley Taylor helped the local World Championship race rise in prominence. “So, we drew the best mushers in the world,” said Jim Lyman in an early Globe interview. “And some of our local mushers went up to Alaska and did well (in races there), so that drew more attention to Laconia. Laconia became a hot spot.”

In the early 1960s the Molberg’s were active in the mushing community and started writing Team and Trail from their home. It became a family affair with parents and kids, alike would spend their days telling stories from the trail.

Team and Trail evolved along with the sport of dog sledding and continued to be published in much of the same fashion until the elder Molberg’s passed away in the early 2000s.

“This was well before the Internet, but I had always heard of Team and Trail and just about anyone involved in the sport, has as well,” Robert Forto said. “I knew this was a huge opportunity to not only pay homage and respect to the Molberg’s and their magazine but also keep these very important documents.”

The Forto’s loaded up six totes, almost a thousand pounds, and headed to Boston Logan to bring them home to the First Paw Media headquarters. “It was going to cost us over a thousand dollars,” Michele Forto exclaimed, “but we worked them down to $900 thanks to a receptive customer service agent at Alaska Airlines.”

First Paw Media’s first plan is to digitize all the old issues and categorize them correctly on Then they will begin to share some of the cool stories via multi-media. “So many of today’s younger generations of dog mushers have never heard these stories and we are honored to be given the opportunity to keep these stories alive,” said, Michele Forto.

Our long-term goal is these stories will remain alive, for at least the next fifty years. Our daughter, Nicole (Forto) who is a dog musher, having competed in the Junior Iditarod, twice, is set to take over our business when we retire.”

Nicole Forto said she will do what is required of her. “It is important.”

“This an exciting time for us and the sport of dog mushing. There is a common adage in the creative tech space to be the first, the best, or different. We are confident we fit that definition explicitly. For us this will be all about creating a completely new experience that takes the friction out of getting you more active and staying engaged with the sports you love, welcome to the new home of dog powered sports,” Robert Forto concludes.


Media Contact for Robert Forto and First Paw Media:

Michele Forto

Firstpawmedia ( @)


First Paw Media Acquires Team and Trail (pdf link)