Because it features the Ultimate Ski Guide, the up! December issue is one of the biggest of the year.

The guide is chock-full of resort reviews, profiles, tips, a gear guide and plenty of thrills and chills. By the time the issue hits the seatbacks of WestJet planes to be picked up by more than two million guests, the up! team has almost forgotten the months of work and the multitude of decisions that went into it. Almost.

Let me take you down a double-black “run” I call The December Issue.

It was early in the new year of 2013 as we sat down to our first brainstorming meeting with some of our top ski writers, including Lisa Kadane, Mike Fisher and Shelley Arnusch.

If you’ve seen the issue, you’ll know we decided to feature a beautiful, strong female role model on the cover — Olympic half-pipe contender Roz Groenwoud. At the meeting, writers were assigned to stories and the editorial lineup began to take shape. The issue would include resort reviews, technical tips, a B.C. road trip, some mountain photography tips and a family guide. We also decided to profile ski-cross Olympian Brady Leman.

The guide has about 16 pages, but the ski theme continues into other parts of up!. An interview with Steve Podborski, Canada’s Chef de Mission for Sochi and former Crazy Canuck, appears on the Brief Case page. What was originally going to be a fashion story — Shelley Arnusch’s “Poser’s Guide to Apres-Ski” — moved to the humour page at the back of the magazine.

There were many more meetings over the next months, two photo shoots, much discussion over whether it should be “Roz” or “Rosalind” Groenewoud, (and many triple-checks on the spelling of Groenwoud) and a lot of beautiful mountain photos to pore over.

In the end, this year’s Ultimate Ski Guide was full of thrills, chills, some unexpected bumps and some big-air moments. Just like a good run, we can’t wait to do it again.

Next year.