OGDEN A member of the family that owns Snowbasin says he bought land that could be used to run a gondola over the Wasatch Range to the ski area from a village development in this city.
The idea revives a long-running proposal looking for a source of funding that could make Snowbasin the most easily reached ski area in Utah.
Chris Peterson, a son-in-law of Snowbasin owner Earl Holding, confirmed he purchased 1,279 acres in Malan Basin on the city side of 9,570-foot Mount Ogden, just above the ski area's summit.
"My provisional plan was to purchase the property and then trade or sell it to the Forest Service or the Trust For Public Land or the Nature Conservancy so I could end up with cash or easily developable land elsewhere," Peterson said in an e-mail to the Standard-Examiner.
"I have also begun to evaluate some other possible uses for the property, including a gondola up the mountain. I am now in the lengthy process of developing ideas and costing out the details of how the property might best be used," he wrote.
Peterson brought up more elaborate plans for a pedestrian-friendly village centered on the gondola station in another e-mail he wrote to an Ogden committee studying the idea of running a gondola line from downtown to Weber State University.
Gondolas typically sit eight people. Peterson's gondola line could link up with the city gondola at Weber State University, where he is sketching plans for an ambitious new development.
It would consist of a vehicle-free village built around student housing, a golf course and hotel. Peterson also proposed new academic programs at Weber State for hotel and outdoor recreation management.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said he was intrigued by Peterson's plan, which "certainly fits in with the master plan for developing Ogden."
Dave Hardman, president of the Ogden Chamber of Commerce, said Peterson's plans fit neatly with the transit system envisioned by the Lift Ogden committee.
The committee is asking the Utah Transit Authority to fund and operate an aerial cableway from downtown to the university as Ogden's version of Salt Lake's light-rail system.
Boosters would like to see the cableway become operational in three years to coincide with a commuter rail system along the Wasatch Front, Hardman said.
Peterson's purchase of the Malan Basin property was made under the name of Salt Lake Exchange Accommodations LLC, according to records filed Feb. 16 with the Weber County Recorder's Office.
The records don't reveal the purchase price, but county records say the land has a taxable assessment of $431,856.