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Snowbasin is opposed to gondola from Ogden

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OGDEN — Snowbasin says it isn't supporting a proposal to run a gondola to the top of the ski resort from Ogden, a proposal from a relative of resort owner Earl Holding that has the mayor's endorsement.

Snowbasin said its only priority is to develop Mount Ogden's east side, where it has skiing, and asked others to stop mentioning its presumed support for a gondola linking Ogden from the west.

"Really, our master plan does not call for anything like that as far as I can see," Snowbasin general manager Denzel Rowland said.

Rowland was objecting to a resolution and news release from Mayor Matthew Godfrey promoting a gondola system for Ogden that could link to Snowbasin.

"I don't know why that's in there, because there's no agreement that's been made with Snowbasin," Rowland said.

Godfrey is looking for funding for a city gondola instead of light rail for a line from downtown Ogden to Weber State University, where Chris Peterson wants to build another gondola part way up Mount Ogden to a year-round resort he plans to build in Malan's Basin.

Peterson is the son-in-law of billionaire Earl Holding, owner of Snowbasin and Sinclair Oil Co. His plan would leave a gondola one stop short of reaching Snowbasin, and Godfrey insists the final link is possible.

"The gondola certainly has the potential of connecting to multiple resorts. What it ends up connecting to remains to be seen," Godfrey said. "It's a delicate balance between talking about what this project might accomplish and not misleading people."

Rowland said Snowbasin plans to add condominiums and a golf course to Snowbasin, making it a year-round resort over the next 15 to 20 years, and a gondola from Ogden isn't part of that plan.

Critics say Godfrey is adding confusion to the gondola transit proposal, which he says will make Ogden stand out among Utah cities angling for light-rail systems.

A resolution prepared by Godfrey and endorsed by an association of Weber County governments says the gondola represents a "unique opportunity for Ogden City and its neighboring communities to become the only urban center in the country that can be attached to an area ski resort."

Peterson, whose company purchased 1,200 acres of land in Malan's Basin earlier this year, has said he hopes to unveil plans for the resort in the next few months. Meanwhile, Godfrey and others are working to secure funding for a leg of the gondola that would connect downtown and Weber State.

If the gondola goes to Snowbasin, it would have to cross a parcel of U.S. Forest Service land between Snowbasin and Malan's Basin.

Chip Sibbernsen, ranger for the Forest Service's Ogden District, said he has not been formally contacted about any such proposal.