First of all, the pit will prevent anything from freezing and breaking. Secondly, you said the basement is lower than the pit. This will make priming more difficult for two reasons. The distance and the air lock problem.
Putting fittings in a suction line is a no no. Especially a valve that can leak through a packing nut or o-ring seal. Just another problem.
I would live with the pit and love it. It's illegal to have one these days because of the possible flooding contamination thing, but a pit is a great system and should be left alone. Otherwise, you are just asking for more problems.
You are the first person I have ever known to have a northern cabin with a basement. What town are you in?