It’s always fun when a ski book gets attention. Tome of the moment (selling well in Colorado) is Wayne Sheldrake’s “Instant Karma — The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum.” I got an advance copy of this a few months ago and didn’t blog because it was a bit too advanced, but Sheldrake’s book is available now so here goes.
According to Greg Stump’s squib on the back cover, “Wayne’s obviously a freak, right up there with…well, me.” After watching a few old Stumpy movies just the other night, I wouldn’t go so far as putting Sheldrake on that exalted pedestal, but one has to draw an erie similarity between the Glen Plake nude desert monoski segment in Stump’s “Doctor Strangeglove” and Sheldrake’s lengthy but nonetheless amusing exposition of the “World Sand Speed Skiing Championships.”
Beyond dirt skiing, in all seriousness I can say that “Instant Karma” is a good read. It truly covers the gamut of the dedicated skier’s lifestyle, but not so much the sleep-in-your-truck days many of us went through at some point in life, but rather the battle between the finite limits of the human body with the infinite demands of skiing’s inherent physicality. In that vein Sheldrak goes beyond mere broken bones in his account of an epic heart surgery, and does so with introspection and soul that rises above what could have been a simple whine or heroic man-against-nature skreed. In other words, I’d call this book a “retrospective” that recounts the life of a man out here in the west, who structures his days around skiing but doesn’t ignore the rest of it.
And it’s not all serious. One example: A story of Sheldrake’s friend Ted taking an alfresco pee on a powder day and ending up with serious clothing issues. I leave the rest to your imagination — or you can read the book.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.