Moonlight Basin, shaken in this fall's Wall Street crisis, found itself laying off staff in early October after their primary lender Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. But the resort began to pull staff back within a couple weeks to chug with optimism toward its scheduled December opening.

CEO Lee Poole issued a news release in early October saying the layoffs were "a painful but necessary" process as he pursued alternate financing. The resort, however, retained essential staff to prep the ski hill for running its lifts as scheduled and expects to recall to work by mid-November at least half of the 81 workers laid off. The remainder should return in early December. 

"We are pleased that after only 2.5 weeks we were able to start bringing some of our staff back," said Greg Pack, General Manager of Moonlight Basin in a news release. "This has been a tough situation for all involved, but we are continuing to move in the right direction." 

The resort's grooming machines took to the slopes Nov. 6 to compact fresh snow. "It's already starting out to be a great winter considering we just received over one foot of fresh powder," Pack told Onthesnow.com, noting that the resort planned to fire up the snowmaking guns that night.

"This is always a special time of year for our guests and employees as the temperature drops and the mountains turn white," he added. "You can just feel the excitement building and the anticipation as we approach the day when we can put the boards on our feet again and feel the freedom that only skiing and riding bring."  

Moonlight Basin plans to open the Iron Horse lift Dec. 5. The remainder of the resort will open as scheduled Dec. 12.