For most sane people, risk is an element we prefer to minimise. Skiers know all too well that risk exists in the mountains, but generally we prefer to minimise our exposure to it. Matt de Waard, mountain lover, skier, fire fighter and Senior Consultant at Risk Response and Rescue is clearly no ordinary sane person as he not only thrives on risk, he’s built a career around it. “Risk Response and Rescue provide advice and consultancy services on safety and emergency management, training and personnel for some of the nation’s biggest infrastructure projects, recreational pursuits and iconic locations,” he explains. “Basically, we do emergency and safety management. Usually our clients ask us to provide advice and consultancy to implement emergency management systems. We then also provide training, and operations for high risk activities – essentially across land, marine, aviation, alpine and underground environments. This puts my team and I in a range of high risk operational environments during a range of conditions.”
“Quite often we might run a mine rescue program out in Cobar, and one of the subject matter experts for life-support may be a ski patroller from the Snowy Mountains. That might seem strange but it’s actually typical for a ski patroller from Thredbo to see a heck of a lot more trauma than a mine rescue guy working out in the bush. We try to bring people from different industries together to try and cross-pollinate what we do.”
As you’d expect, operations like Risk Response place a lot of stress and reliance on their gear: “One week I might be underground in a mine on Monday, and then by Wednesday I’ll be ski-patrolling in Perisher, and then hanging off the Sydney Harbour Bridge a week later. We get to do all sorts of fun stuff.”
After 19 back-to-back winters between the United States and Australia, de Waard takes the job in his stride, but says having good quality equipment is factor number one in his preparation: “Naturally, you’d expect that an operation like ours requires a broad range of specialised gear and equipment alongside a lot of cool toys. We rely on our gear to perform to the highest possible level so that we can focus on the important tasks at hand. This is why we’ve come to rely so heavily on Le Bent and their products,” he told us. “Through all our work, from ski patrolling to working with Snowy Hydro and Alpine Rescue units we get out and about all the time. One of the things we really like about the Le Bent gear is that first and foremost it’s comfortable. I’ve been using the bamboo and merino socks since they were released and I cannot fault them. I’ve never had a bad day out in those socks. I’ve tried a fair few brands and ripped through them pretty quick – it tends to happen when you’re in ski boots 220 days of the year. They cannot be beat.”
Since Matt and the team at Risk Response first got wind of the rest of our products from baselayers to facemasks they couldn’t wait to try it. “It was an easy decision. You can wear the gear all day without it getting too itchy or too uncomfortable. It never seems to be too hot or too cold. It’s always just right.”
If there’s one thing that Risk Response knows when they see it, it’s quality and durability. For the average consumer, you can rest assured knowing that if our gear can stand up to what Risk Response can throw at it, it will last anyone else for years to come.