Pick your bindings. Don’t know which alpine touring binding to start with? Listen to Dobbins. “The Dynafit rep told me he likes [Marker] Dukes because they’re like a gateway drug. Eventually people get smart and get the Dynafit.” Dukes are a beefy binding that will hold you in really well while allowing you to charge hard. Because of weight, Dobbins recommends them for sidecountry excursions. However, Dobbins says Dynafits are “all I want to ski on.” Light and fast, they offer a good connection to the ski and are usable with a ski crampon, characteristics that make them ideal for serious backcountry expeditions.
Personalize your poles. When it comes to gear, Dobbins prefers working with what he has as opposed to going on a shopping spree. He uses castoff cork from bike shops to adapt alpine poles for touring comfort. By wrapping cork around the pole’s midsection, he creates a grip that allows him to choke up on the pole in steep terrain and do so comfortably even in gloveless weather. “You save money, and I like poles that aren’t adjustable—then you don’t have to worry about them coming apart while you’re skiing.”