(Last Updated On: June 30, 2010)
Wayne Sheldrake’s Instant Karma is a somewhat autobiographical book examining the author’s love of skiing and the paths in life that skiing has taken him to. As a lifelong skier whose life has so largely been dictated by my love of skiing, this was certainly a book that I could relate to.
I found some parts of the book to be somewhat aggravating, and contrary to the premise of what a ski bum truly is. For instance, one of the early chapters describes the author venturing out on a deep day at Wolf Creek, a day described as “too deep”. Apparently, no other skiers would even head out into the storm, and the whole scene described seems so out of whack for what a true ski bum does- namely, live for the deep days. At least the author eventually left the lodge to ski powder.
Another interesting chapter involved the author’s move to the plains of SE Colorado. I’m not sure how many self-respecting ski bums move to the plains, but at least the author continues to ski on weekends, packing up the family and driving several hours each way to go skiing.
Still, the author’s deep felt love of the sport comes through. His suffering while away from skiing after a major surgery comes through loud and clear. It’s something I can’t even imagine. His descriptions of resenting summer and going into a state of “estivating” through the summer (estivate being the opposite of hibernate, lying dormant in winter) hit home for me. I still can’t stand summer.
What keeps skiers like me entertained year after year? I mean, it should get old after a few years, right? Sheldrake says it well in this passage: “It can never be the same. Even on a fresh day. The temperature is different. The light is different. It might be delightful, joyous- even orgasmic- but never the same. It makes skiing as sad as jazz. All improvised and all lost in the midst of its own becoming.”
There are plenty of moments in the book when the author nails it, like he did above. And for that reason, Instant Karma is an entertaining read for both ski bums and armchair ski bums, if such a thing exists. Check it out. It’s available here:
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