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Instant Karma: The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum [Paperback]

Wayne K. Sheldrake
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2007
With the beauty and precision of a poet, Wayne Sheldrake examines his place in the close community of ski bums, people who give up "normality" to live on their own terms. Sheldrake's is a life of recklessness and restlessness, dedicated to adventure, courage, and the pure joy of second and third chances. He maps the hidden trails of virgin snow and conjures the rush of hucking off cornices and skiing blind in sudden snowstorms with exacting detail, all the while finding his way to understanding and accepting the powerful bonds of romance, friendship, and learning to let go. In Sheldrake's universe, "instant karma" is what happens when we believe our grandest passion can't be separated from the everyday, and then live in accordance with that faith.

Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Ghost Road Press; First edition (15 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979625505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979625503
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 15 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,701,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok Ski Book 24 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love to ski but found this book to be a bit slow. I did try and get into it but it just left me wanting more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting adventure! 14 Nov 2007
By CJoyce - Published on
Instant Karma, The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum, Wayne Sheldrake. Ghost Road Press. Book Review by, Christa Mastrangelo Joyce

Few people have discovered how to live with the kind of reckless abandon that allows them to pursue life while looking death square in the eye. This is exactly the journey that Wayne Sheldrake reveals in his memoir, Instant Karma, The Heart and Soul of a Ski Bum. Sheldrake admits, "I was a little confused when I passed my twenty-fifth birthday. I never thought I'd live beyond twenty-four. I assumed my stunts would catch up with me, or my heart would just quit. But I was happy because I knew how I wanted to live and if I died in the process, so be it." The memoir follows this notion through Sheldrake's forty-odd years of life, unfolding into a poetic exploration of skiing and the revelation that daring is always worth the pursuit.

Instant Karma has plenty to get excited about. The descriptions of mountains covered with snow in the heart of the Rockies, the landscapes of quiet white, and the visceral images of a man bound to soar downward through that whiteness, soar over those mountains, is just one part of the picture Sheldrake paints. He writes, "The light was moon-faced. The chairlift rose through a hall of spruce loaded to their armpits with snow...dense clouds dipped into the trees...the mountain vibrated. The trees unswaddled cradles of snow. Sugar sacks lumped down on flour sacks which lumped down on potato sacks which lumped down on onion sacks which lumped down on cotton sacks, until like futons tumbling from the sky, the foundered Qali found snow pack." Throughout the book, Sheldrake leads his reader through a magical world seen by so few--a mountain in full blizzard in Colorado. The snow he describes is a force, the mountains are legendary. And in the middle of it all, Sheldrake makes his presence known. No snow storm, no mountain is too much. For Sheldrake, it becomes clear, to ski is to live and to live means to give up any timidity he might have. Sheldrake writes, "To almost die and then live--it's wild. Surviving terror can lead to a kind of joy that makes the traumas of `real life' seem less intimidating....some people have to get close to death to really figure life out--really close." Sheldrake is definitely one of those "really close" kind of guys.

The book, though, isn't just a look at a crazy guy who likes to live on the wild side of skiing. Instant Karma will make you look into your heart and soul and think about what you are willing to do to live your dream. It is an adventure into the soul of a man who is
reckless enough to do as he dares against the advice of family, friends and doctors; it is also a love story about a man who follows his own guidance and finds himself a partner who believes just as fully that living with passion must be the goal in life. And it is a portrait of memory, something that is distilled and changing and somewhat illusory, but also the only thing we have left in the end. Sheldrake writes, "I wanted to ski exactly the same run, relive it if I could...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. Every moment hangs in memory, the phenomenology forever internal and terminal. When the memory goes, it's gone. You can never go back--not exactly." And so, Instant Karma is a movement through that phenomenology, making the internal, external, capturing the fleeting memory so that Sheldrake could bring us his understanding of life and skiing. In the end, he gives us what we all would like to pass on--a good story about a full life.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does one dare review - Karma ? 24 Dec 2007
By Robert Linton - Published on
Wayne has really captured the thoughts of most die hard skiers in this writing. But as I read the book, which I picked up - after meeting Wayne, where else; but on a ski Lift at Wolf Creek Pass ski resort, I realized that its meaing was deeper. I could see paralells into other aspects of daily lives.
Wayne is a great writer, who connects with the reader.
I am glad to have met him, and to have read Karma.

P.S. I am heading back out to Wolf Creek Pass this Holiday season, as they now have over 14 feet of snow.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetically descriptive 6 Nov 2007
By M. C. Daugherty - Published on
I enjoyed this book so much. As a snowboarder, I naturally have a distain for skiers, but don't let that turn you away from this book! Even a snowboarder can have extreme respect for the way this ski bum shreds. In fact, reading this book, though be it about skiing, can make you a better snowboarder.....or skier. I'll bet that Sheldrake's medical records have more depth than distance between your hips and the top of your pants. I have never been able to put a palpable image to the orgasmic feel of fresh powder, but the way that Sheldrake describes in detail how dipping in to a fresh turn of powder feels, makes me scream for the upcoming winter.

I would suggest this book to ANYONE. Not only does Sheldrake speak of valuable life lessons and experience, but can take skiing and transfer all of the aspects of life to the mountain. This book is perfect for understanding the adrenaline seeking lifestyle and soul of the wild at heart.

It's definitely a MUST read!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 1 Jun 2010
By William Sidwell - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book about Sheldrake's life and those around him, surviving on low wages, and beg, borrowing and stealing to make ends meet. He highlights all those worst fears of any person whose profession relies on the full use of their body to earn a basic wage. After all, a serious injury (which Sheldrake seems to attract like steel to a magnet) would not only take his earning capacity away, but also the heart and soul of his existance.

His analysis into the cause of the accident where he crashed into the teenager had me questioning some times from my testosterone-fuelled skiing past, and I could see parts of me in the kid, and parts of me in Sheldrake.

Towards the end I was growing tired of the descriptive language being used, and I almost felt I was reading sentences passed through a word processor's thesaurus tool. That aside, it was an entertaining book, especially for fellow skiers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN "INSTANT" CLASSIC 29 Nov 2007
By R. S. Lamb - Published on
Wayne's history as a poet and wordsmith serves him well as he weaves this amazing adventure tale of his personal journey of the heart and soul. Chock full of descriptive passages: dirtbag chic, near death experiences and winter storms in the Southern San Juans that had me shivering in my slippers! And then....between the lines and pages there is Vreni and the heartwarming love story that exposes our Mr. Sheldrake for the hopeless romantic that he is, binds first his wounds and then the yarn itself into a fascinating whole.
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