Words: Sarah Ward
After winning the U.S. Open in 2004 and 2005, Swiss skier Mickael Deschenaux-Comte left skiing, succumbing to substance abuse—including crack—that lead to a prison sentence. In 2007, he got out with a new mindset. He's been clean since and is devoted to multiple projects, including hip-hop and metalcore recordings, Jilted Royalty, and body modifications and piercings.
This week, after being off snow for the past four years, he dropped an edit from the 2013 Orage Masters. We spoke with Deschenaux-Comte about the edit, drugs, jail, how skiing lead him to hell and back, and what's next.
POWDER: You've gone through rough times with drugs and jail. Has skiing helped or hindered these trials? Are you clean now?
Mickael Deschenaux-Comte: Downfall: cocaine rock, yes I was smoking crack if you prefer, Ketamine addiction, overdose, prison, trials, working on construction sites… I even did pizza deliveries at a point, so I was at the bottom. I had it all and I f-cked myself for myself, not that I dis on people who deliver pizzas. Once I got out of jail, I decided to turn my life around, the same day I got out, on February 27, 2007. I haven't touched a drug since, not once, not even one joint. Devils were always around until about three years ago. Now, I would say I feel cured for sure. I ain't planning on stopping here.
"You are whatever you make yourself to be" is a motto of yours. What are you making yourself to be these days?
A better man. I changed my mental attitude completely from negative to positive…nothing can stop my grind lately. I eat clean, I am on my sixth week of no alcohol. Next step: cigarettes. I run with my brother Ray-Ray every morning. I don't go out, not because I can't, but because I don't want to. I was grown enough to put myself in such a position, so am I to do it better and overcome for myself.
Tell us about this edit. How long have you been working on it, and can we expect more?
Well, this edit is just me trying to ski again for an afternoon after four years without skiing. I went to a foam pit session about two years ago on rollerblades, and a trampoline once, but that's about how much I've redone my tricks during the past four years. The Inspired crew just offered me to come over to the Orage Masters 13, to have a good time and maybe ski. I reconsidered and said yes. They and I worked out that once I landed in Sun Valley, I would have the materials needed to shred delivered to my lodge. The rest you've seen. Yes, you may expect more.
How did it go?
It was very good. I had a good time with friends I haven't seen in awhile and shared some great moments.
You've done a lot within skiing over the years. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
Quitting on time. I'll explain: If I would have stayed in the scene, I would be worth nothing right now. I wouldn't have been through the shit I've gone through and I wouldn't have learned anything… I would just be another spoiled, "I didn't have to work hard for nothing in my entire life" type of kid. Can't allow that. I am better than that. My biggest accomplishment…having not one regret.
Tell me about your trip you have planed this summer at Saas-Fee.
I will meet with E'Dollo over there and we'll get shit done for sure. I do not know exactly what right now, but some fun and some shreddin'.
What else do you have going on? Are you still piercing? According to your Wikipedia page, you're a professional modifier. What does that mean?
A lot of stuff! Yes, I have a four day a week job as a body piercer/modifier in Luzern, Switzerland, in a studio called "Crimson Needlez." I do any piercings, from A to Z, just think of one…yes I do them all. I also do scarification, stretchings, cutting, peeling…just look it up.
You've done hip-hop, you're a vocalist for the Metalcore band Edesse, you created Jilted Royalty. Are you still involved in these projects?
Hip-Hop is on more than ever. Projects featuring Ceekay Jones, JJ peters, Louie Knoxx and more. Our band Edesse is having a bit of a rough time composing and rehearsing lately because our guitarist just got surgery due to a crash snowboarding. We just terminated our collaboration with our bassist, but we will be back on track with lots of goodies for your ears around August. Jilted Royalty is something that no other than Mr. Jay Read, example of self-discipline and great friend of mine, created. I am just the official face and ambassador of it. I don't rep Jilted, I am Jilted. It's only the beginning. Believe that.
What do you plan to do in the skiing world over the next couple of years?
Manage to just have fun and do a few edits here and there… Be where I should be at the right time with the right people.
What are your thoughts on skiing today? What advice would you give young skiers?
Skiing isn't what it used to be, but it will stay for me… I am going to stick to what I used to do and the way I used to do it. Advice? Don't be or do what I used to. It isn't the way. Keep up the good work, direct your thoughts, control your emotions, and ordain your destiny.
Anything else you want to add?
I quite skiing in the first place because it got up to my head and lead me to the wrong path, and for that same reason, I would never get back to being a pro. But at the same time, skiing was the best thing that happened to me, it got me to hell and back and back to hell… If that didn't happen I wouldn't be here talking with you right now.
I want to thank my mother for believing in me, even through the worst times.