Prepare to get psyched to hit the slopes without even leaving home. This year has been fantastic for books about getting out on the snow, from travelogues to history books, travel guides to coffee table books. There are more than enough new books to appeal to any skier or snowboarder.

The most impressive — and most expensive — I’ve seen this year is Chris Davenport’s “Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America” ($59.95, Wolverine Publishing). With its epic, jaw-on-the-floor photography, this book looks so good you might build a dedicated coffee table just for it. Poring over works from Christian Pondella, Will Wissman and other professional ski photogs, “breathtaking” comes to mind.

Davenport’s book isn’t as much a guide book as it is a get-amped-to-ski book. Rather than dry descriptions of each descent, dozens of pro skiers offer first-person descriptions of skiing the line. The author calls it “a snapshot of the history of ski mountaineering and what ski mountaineering is currently.”

Though many of the descents are on massive mountain ranges in the western U.S., Alaska and Canada, the book kicks off with a couple Northeast peaks.

If you’re looking for something less aspirational and more practical, “Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast” by David Goodman ($19.95, Appalachian Mountain Club Books) is the place to start.

Like Davenport, Goodman picks 50 ski routes that can’t be missed. But unlike Davenport, these tours are readily accessible for New Englanders.

Don’t mistake accessible for easy, however. Some of the routes, like the hut-to-hut journey through Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness, are not for the faint of heart.

Despite the omnipresent difficulty, Goodman does a fantastic job running through backcountry preparedness, safety and travel tips. If you’re fishing for excuses as to why you haven’t bushwhacked while skiing yet, not knowing where to go or what to do is off your list.

Is your skiing more horizontal than vertical? “Long Distance” by environmentalist Bill McKibben ($14.99, Simon & Schuster) is the perfect book for the Nordic skier.

Originally published in 2000, it covers McKibben’s year of Olympic-level cross-country training, which he began at age 37 after years away from the sport.

The author deftly combines sports reporting with a personal memoir, interviews sports physiologists and doctors, and reaches beyond skiing to look at endurance in athletes in many disciplines.

Mixed in with McKibben’s training and competition diary is his struggle with the death of his father from cancer during the year of training. The book is stronger for this personal, difficult journey concurrent with his physical trials.

For the aspiring (or recovering) ski bum, two books out this fall highlight the pros, cons, ups and downs of living from powder day to powder day.

Jeremy Evans’ “In Search of Powder” ($16.95, University of Nebraska Press) and Leslie Anthony’s “White Planet” ($17.95, Greystone Books) are two different takes on ski culture.

In Evans’ “Powder,” we have what feels like a coda to the life of a ski bum; rapturous stories of skiing and living on saltines and ketchup packets. It is a book largely spent lamenting the current state of ski culture and the demise of ski bumming as a viable lifestyle, insomuch as it ever was.

If Evans’ book is looking forward to where skiers are headed, Anthony is celebrating our recent past.

A longtime writer for Powder and editor at SBC Skier, Anthony tells stories about his globe-trotting ski adventures over the last 30 years.

It’s funny writing and wonderful wish fulfillment, as the author skis with well-known industry folk in Mexico, India and Alaska.

The only downside to all these great winter sports books? None exists as an audio book, so short of catching the authors on the chair lift, you’ll have to read them before you head for the hills.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime ski enthusiast. He writes this column every other week, sharing the space with his father, John Christie. Josh can be reached at:

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