Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilDossiers112-1Dependence, Attachment, Oppositio...

Dependence, Attachment, Opposition: The Transition of Ski Resorts. A Case Study of the Southern Alps

Émeline Hatt et Cécilia Claeys
Traduction de Eunice Sanya Pelini
Cet article est une traduction de :
Dépendance, attachement, contestation : quelles transitions pour les stations de sports d’hiver ? [fr]


In light of the increasing urgency of transition, this article examines strategies for transition in relation to ski resorts. It focuses on both official transition initiatives (support for resorts by regional authorities) and citizen-driven initiatives (associations and local residents). The study, which focuses on Alpine resorts in the south of France, highlights the emergence of institutional and group initiatives aimed at ecological transition, while identifying some of the obstacles to the evolution of the socio-technical system of winter sports. Our findings clearly show economic dependency and a socio-political attachment to the alpine ski resort model among both institutional actors and residents, especially secondary residents.

Haut de page

Texte intégral


  • 1 The “Climate and Resilience” law of August 22, 2021, aims to halve the consumption of natural, agri (...)

1Between 1985 and 1990, the winter sports tourism sector was affected by a steadily increasing number of environmental and economic disruptions (Bourdeau, 2008; Clarimont and Vlès, 2008; George-Marcelpoil et al., 2010; Hatt and Vlès, 2014; Clivaz et al., 2015). These resulted from changing supply and demand (stagnation of visitor numbers, increased demands for aesthetic and environmental quality on the part of visitors, development of practices not exclusively focused on winter sports, etc.) related to climate change. Declining snow levels and the inter-annual variability of snowfall (OECD, 2007; Morin, 2022) are putting to the test the “weather-sensitive” socio-economic model of ski resorts (George et al., 2019). An additional structural vulnerability facing the sector relates to land and real estate issues. The fiscal resources of municipalities in these areas are increasingly dependent on residential property (Grand-Clément and Boulay, 2015), and the expansion of real estate construction has become a major factor in the financing of winter sports resort facilities (Fablet, 2015; Marieu, 2018). However, the national objective of “zero net artificialization”1 is calling into question these development trends and their perverse generation of “cold beds”. In addition to these structural factors destabilizing the resort model, cyclical factors, in particular the recent health and energy crises, have also raised questions about the dependence of ski resorts and mountain regions on an energy-intensive tourism sector, especially in terms of their dependence on carbon-based mobility (Ademe, 2022).

2As a result, from 1990 to 2000, public authorities have encouraged these resorts to become more sustainable, and today they are urged to embrace transition for the sake of climate change adaptation and ecological transition (Bourdeau, 2021; Vlès and Hatt, 2019).

3First used in the 1970s and 1980s, the concept of transition has gradually replaced that of sustainable development since the 2000s (Villalba and Melin, 2022). Loorbach, et al. (2017) argue that the concept of “sustainability transitions” is more representative of a deep and structural transformation of systems. In practice, however, there are conflicting interpretations of this concept (Cottin-Marx et al. 2013; Larrère et al., 2016). While one transition advocates abandoning the dominant socioeconomic system in favor of alternative models (such as the Transition Town approach initiated by Hopkins), another calls for maintaining or even reinforcing the neoliberal socioeconomic model (such as the green growth strategy) (Oudot and d’Estoile, 2020).

4At the crossroads between the socio-technical and socio-institutional approaches (“Transition Management” (Geels, 2010; Köhler et al., 2019), and drawing on a territorial approach (Pachoud et al., 2022), this article proposes to analyze the transition of the socio-technical system of winter sports based on the perspective developed by Geels (2010). This perspective analyzes social transformations at three levels: exogenous landscape, regime and niche. Winter sports are analyzed as a socio-technical regime, i.e., as a system within a dominant regime, consisting of a set of technologies, actors and practices, infrastructures and institutions that shape the mountain winter tourism landscape. Structured by institutionalized rules and internalized norms, this regime has been at the heart of the mountain tourism system since the 1960s. According to systems theory, the winter sports regime, like any dominant regime, is characterized by barriers and by a certain path dependency that makes its transformation more complex (Geels, 2010; Koop, 2021). The transition of the socio-technical regime of winter sports can therefore result from the pressure exerted by the other two levels, the exogenous landscape (the macro-environment on which it is difficult to act locally: e.g. climate change, health, and energy crises) and innovation niches (new solutions developed by actors with values different from those of the dominant regime). Building on the work of Fuenfschilling and Truer (2014), we will also look at the institutional tensions, conflicts, and inconsistencies (or “semi-coherences”) that permeate the dominant winter sports regime.

5Our goal is to capture how regions take ownership of the multiple imperatives of transition and to identify the forms of blockage, dependence, attachment, or contestation of the existing socio-technical regime. This analysis focuses on the role of public institutions and civil society, both in terms of associations and residents. It is based on Alpine resorts in the South of France.

  • 2 All the actions approved or planned in 2020 under this contract have been catalogued in order to st (...)
  • 3 In 2020, the municipality had 475 primary residences and 4,073 secondary and occasional residences (...)

6To this end, this article draws on the evaluation of the Stations de Demain (Stations of the Future) contract promoted by the Southern Region between 2016 and 2020 (Camoin, 2020) 2, and on the TransEnAlpes project (Claeys et al. 2022; Hatt et al., 2023), funded by the Southern Region, to understand the challenges of energy transition faced by ski resorts in the Southern Alps. It includes 10 semi-structured interviews with representatives of institutions, associations in the region and three resorts (Les Orres, Sauze-Super Sauze and Dévoluy), and an online survey conducted in 2022 (Pernin, 2022) among residents of the municipality of Dévoluy (26 permanent residents and 45 secondary residents3).

7The first part examines the actors and the methods of ecological transition in ski resorts. The second part assesses the forms and possibilities of implementing this transition in the resorts of the Southern Alps from two perspectives: institutional initiatives and the initiatives developed by associations and local residents.

Institutional Experiments and Citizens’ Initiatives in the Transition of Ski Resorts

8Sustainable transitions studies have highlighted the diversity of approaches and views on environmental issues (Villalba and Melin, 2022). Two competing approaches stand out, one defending the primary role of local authorities, the other advocating a “bottom-up” transition based on local and socially innovative citizen initiatives (Hakimi Pradels et al., 2022). The coexistence of these approaches to transition can be observed in mountain areas.

Institutional Drivers of (Partial) Mountain Transition

9The institutional approach to transition is primarily embodied in the Mountain Future Action Plan presented in May 2021. This plan aims to guide mountain areas “toward a tourism development strategy adapted to the challenges of ecological transitions and tourism diversification4” by funding energy transition projects (e.g., decarbonized mobility, renovation of accommodation) and ecological transition projects (e.g., biodiversity conservation). In the Southern Region, seven regions benefited from this scheme in 20235.

10In parallel, the Mountain Future Action Plan has also contributed to supporting the existing socio-technical regime rooted in winter sports. The plan thus reflects a form of “semi-coherence” (Fuenfschilling and Truffer, 2014) that, for the sake of a certain vision of transition, reinforces the socio-technical regime that focuses on maintaining ski resort facilities and even reinforcing them through technical processes, particularly with regard to artificial snow. On the one hand, transition is seen as a territorial development of tourism: the scope of the destination complements that of the resort (François and Billet, 2010; Hatt, 2021). On the other hand, it is viewed as an approach based on the diversification of activities without questioning the foundations of the resort’s economic model based on winter sports, growth and expansion. These transitions continue to be subject to the “AIE!” (“Automotive-Real Estate-Artificial Snowmaking”) syndrome identified by Bourdeau (2008). Indeed, cars remain the preferred means of access to resorts, despite the fact that transportation accounts for an average of 66% of resort GHG emissions (Ademe, 2022). Similarly, real estate development is still ongoing, as is the use of artificial snow (Fablet, 2015; Berard-Chenu, 2021).

11Alongside this institutionally driven transition, alternative experiences are beginning to emerge in the form of social innovations, personal initiatives, activism in collective networks, and transformative practices (Villalba and Melin, 2022).

Civic Initiatives for a (different) Type of Resort Transition

12The relationship between citizen initiatives and institutions is multifaceted and constantly changing and can be summarized according to the typology proposed by Bourg (in CGDD, 2019) as “making do with the system”, “helping the system to evolve”, “changing the system”, or “abolishing the system”.

13With regard to resorts, initiatives aimed at working with or even changing the system include the Mountain Resorts Eco-Guide (since 2006) and the Flocon vert (Green Snowflake) label (since 2012)6 developed by the Mountain Riders Association. The Mountain Territory Transition Cluster, created in 2020, also acts as a link between institutions and citizens and seeks to influence both elected officials and institutions to transform the system. It brings together scientists, associations, elected officials, and institutional players and proposes to coordinate existing actions, encourage transformation, and provide methodological support7. In 2021, the cluster also initiated the “Etats généraux de la transition du tourisme en montagne” (Conventions for the Transition of Mountain Tourism), which took the form of conferences, round tables and local workshops (about 10 in the Southern Alps).

  • 8 According to Boltanski and Chiapello (1999).

14These forms of action tend towards a controlled consensus, leading to a “disarmament of environmental criticism”8, as stated in the joint declaration resulting from these “Etats Généraux”, co-signed by environmental associations, economic actors of the ski industry, and several ministries. Nevertheless, they are evidence of an incipient change within the dominant socio-technical and institutional regime. Resorts and ski-lift companies are integrating the logic of transition into their reflective and operational perspectives.

15In the mountains, social innovation has also led to the development of “creative action” (Bourdeau, 2021) on the margins, embodying a “counter-society” model that aims to “change the system” (CGDD, 2019) and constitute “niches” (spaces for radical innovation) according to Geels (2010). This creative action is driven by both practitioners (Corneloup, 2023; Bonnemains and Claeys, 2023) and professional sectors (Bourdeau, 2021).

16Finally, in recent years, there have been group initiatives aimed primarily at “doing away with the system” (CGDD, 2019), such as the Zones à défendre in La Clusaz against the construction of an additional mountain reservoir, and in La Grave against the construction of a third ski lift (Chambru, 2023).

17We will now analyze the territorialization of the transition of ski resorts by examining resorts in the Southern Region. We will focus on the experiments promoted by official institutions as well as the initiatives of local residents and citizens in favor of the transition.

Paradoxes Inherent in the Regional Initiatives to Support Southern Alpine Resorts

18In order to understand how transition is incorporated in the ski resorts of the Southern Alps, we analyzed how this transition is taken into account in regional policies, in particular in the context of the regional contracts proposed to the resorts.

Strong Support for Ski Resorts until 2020

  • 9 The Southern Region had 24 ski resorts and 6.5 million skier days in 2016-2017.
  • 10 The Espaces Valléens network currently includes 35 regions in the Alps, 19 of which are in the SUD (...)
  • 11 The “Stations de Demain” contracts were designed to stimulate investment in the resorts. A total of (...)

19Given the specificities of mountain areas and their importance in the tourism economy, the Southern Region9 developed a 100 million euro “Mountain Plan” for the period 2016-2020. The plan was designed to support the diversification of tourism and the sustainable development of tourist areas. It encompassed three components: the Convention Interrégional du Massif des Alpes (CIMA), the Espaces valléens10 and the Stations de demain contracts.11

20Since the 2010s, transition has become an integral part of the regional institutional logic, in particular through the Espaces Valléens initiative, which promotes the diversification of activities. An analysis of the Espaces Valléens action plans (George et al., 2019) highlights the importance of diversifying the mountain tourism offer for the period 2014-2020 (53% of the programmed tourism actions). However, the funds allocated to the Espaces Valléens contracts were lower (1.7 million euros in 2019) than those allocated to the Stations de demain contracts (10 million euros per year) which received half of the funds allocated to the Mountain Plan.

  • 12 Almost half of these operations were for artificial snow, representing 23% of the total of 179 subs (...)
  • 13 Comments made during interviews with ski resort managers (2020) and with representatives of the PAC (...)

21An analysis of the amount of regional investment shows the extent to which the public authorities supported the winter sports sector (Camoin, 2020) (Figure 1). In total, 75% of the regional subsidies paid out under the “Stations de Demain” contracts (37 million euros) and 56% of the operations carried out were aimed at developing infrastructure for alpine and Nordic skiing12. Support for ski areas was at the heart of the resort contracts, despite the view expressed by some politicians that the investment policy of resorts in the southern Alps was weak compared to that of resorts in the northern Alps13.

Fig. 1: Themes and the amounts invested for the Stations de demain contracts

Fig. 1: Themes and the amounts invested for the Stations de demain contracts

Camoin, 2020

  • 14 The three projects with a strong environmental transition dimension are: a study of sustainable, co (...)

22The regions that responded to the “Stations de demain” call for projects invested mainly in the ski area. The dynamism in terms of environmental transition was particularly modest (only three actions programmed14). Moreover, 85% of the regional subsidies were granted to large or very large resorts (36 million euros of the 42.5 million in subsidies granted, 110 of the 177 operations - Figure 2).

Fig. 2: Amounts invested and number of interventions by type of ski resort

Fig. 2: Amounts invested and number of interventions by type of ski resort

Camoin, 2020

23These policies thus largely contributed to ensuring the continuity of the socio-technical regime of winter sports supported by the ski-lift companies, revealing their dependence on ski slopes. This dependence is explained in part by the “symbolic attachment to the epic tale of ‘la-station-qui-sauve-la-montagne’” (the station that saves the mountain), by the income that many players still enjoy (real estate, ski instruction, retail), and by the ability of lobbies in the sector (Syndicat national des moniteurs de ski, Association nationale des maires de stations, Domaines skiables de France...) to maintain the status quo (Bourdeau, 2021). Indeed, these actors were present at the “Altitude 2023” mountain meetings held in the south of France on March 9, 2023 to reiterate the importance of maintaining skiing and ski resorts. As Geels (2010) shows, the existing regimes are structured by corporatist networks, with a strong interdependence between the industry and political decision-makers. This is true in the mountains, where the winter sports sector is the main provider of employment in resort communities.

A Half-Hearted Transition since 2021

24In the Southern Alps, the Climsnow report commissioned by the Southern Region from KPGM in 2021 shows that the production of artificial snow only partially compensates for the vagaries of natural snow cover. The results of this study, launched as a prelude to the region’s new “Mountain Plan”, coupled with the energy crisis of 2022, may well have paved the way for “early transition” strategies (Métral, 2021) for certain resorts, leading them to plan the closure of their lifts and equipment, as was the case for Métabief in the Jura. According to a representative of the southern region, the issue of energy transition for resorts “was on people’s minds, but it’s true that when you’re up against the wall, you start to implement things [...] Politicians would no longer accept projects that were not efficient in terms of ecology and energy efficiency.” The energy crisis was therefore an incentive for an ecological transition. This led to a change in regional support policies for mountain regions in 2021. However, the impact of this change remains somewhat unsatisfactory.

25Regional aid has been doubled (200 million euros for the period 2021-2027) and is now devoted in equal parts to the sustainable development of valleys (Espaces Valléens) and to support mountain resorts (Stations 2030 contracts). The call for expressions of interest for the “stations 2030 contract”15 is evidence of the increased emphasis on transition. The question of the economic viability of alpine skiing is not fundamentally in question as the region plans to “actively pursue its support for resort investments”, but it is specified that this will be based on the Climsnow prospective study (integration of the effects of climate change on ski resorts). The aim is to help ski resorts achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and to promote the presentation of “approaches to the evolution of the economic and tourism development model of mountain resorts integrated into their valley ecosystems by 2030-2050”. In its application, the commune of Ubaye Serre-Ponçon therefore stresses that, in the face of “the sharp decline in the sustainability of snow cover”, the valley “must continue and accelerate its transition process in order to prevent its ski resorts from becoming industrial mountain wastelands”. The evidence is clear and shows that the awareness of mountain land managers is on the rise. This approach has allowed us to broaden the scope of the project (by including municipalities in the valley such as Barcelonette and Jausiers) and the region’s economic base. The Régie Ubaye ski range evolution, which includes the maintenance, management and development of outdoor activities in the area, and which was awarded the “Flocon Vert” label in 2023, reflects an evolution in the socio-technical system of winter sports. This evolution, however, does not contradict the importance attached to the maintenance of ski resorts which are a major source of employment in the valley. Indeed, it has led to the proposal of several measures aimed at increasing the capacity of tourist beds or modernizing and reinforcing the artificial snow network (creation of reservoirs on the slopes). Although this is not a fundamental transition of the system, it nevertheless entails optimizing the production of artificial snow “while taking into account the issue of water resources”.

26The institutionally led transition of the Southern Alps resorts is part of a green growth approach that does not challenge the socio-technical system of winter sports. But what can be said about the initiatives promoted by associations and residents?

Is Civil Society the Bearer of an Alternative Transition?

Associative Initiatives Driving Transition

27In the Southern Alps, several explicit or implicit citizen movements have emerged in recent years within the logic of transition. In our areas of study, several approaches stand out.

28In Ubaye, the Effects of Climate Change in Ubaye (ECCU) group, created in 2018, makes science more accessible to the general public to help them “reflect on the effects of climate change on the future of the territory and proposes courses of action to promote adaptation and mitigation”. ECCU is run by Séolane, a “university center for social experimentation and scientific mediation” (Schoeny, 2022). In addition to its annual conference, the group has shared the latest environmental reports on the Ubaye valley with all local elected representatives in a bid to raise their awareness of the challenges of territorial transition.

29In the Buëch-Dévoluy region, the Idées de Demain (IDD) association, created in 2015, has been involved in discussions on the future of Céüze 2000, a resort with ski lifts that have been closed since 2018. IDD advocates the dismantling of ski lifts and is promoting an ecotourism project. The association is pursuing a small steps policy, such as the creation of an orienteering course and the organization of writing workshops and exhibitions. Active in the organization of citizens’ forums, IDD has established itself as an important source of ideas for the local council community responsible for managing the resort, which asked IDD to participate in the formulation of its Espace Valléen project (2021-2027) 16(Bonnemains and Claeys, 2023).

30Lastly, the non-profit “La croisée des Drailles” (LCDD) in Dévoluy promotes “social ties between the inhabitants of Dévoluy through intergenerational encounters and shared activities (cultural, sporting or other) as part of a participatory approach by the inhabitants”17. While LCDD does not explicitly claim to be committed to “transition”, some of its projects, such as the development of car-sharing and the request for public lighting to be turned off at night (Pernin, 2022), fall within the scope of transition.

31While still modest, these initiatives are helping to “bring about change in the system” or even to “change the system” (CGDD, 2019). What, then, can be said about the residents of resort communities?

An Attachment to Skiing and a Timid Ecological Transition for Certain Residents

32National surveys have revealed growing public support for environmental concerns while highlighting discrepancies between discourse and practice and conflicting aspirations (Sesso and Hébel, 2019; Coulangeon et al. 2023). With regard to the transition issues facing mountain resorts, a survey of a small sample of primary (n=26) and secondary (n=45) residents of the municipality of Dévoluy (N=71) reveals similar trends.

33Environmental quality, employment, and economic activity (62 and 56 respondents, respectively) were identified as priorities for the community by the residents surveyed. Maintaining skiing was supported by 60 respondents, although 53 of them noted a decrease in snow cover.

34The desire to maintain skiing in Dévoluy was most strongly expressed by downhill skiers, who remained skeptical about climate change and diminishing snow cover. Most of these respondents were secondary residents. Conversely, non-skiers tended to place little or no priority on preserving skiing in Dévoluy and noted a decline in snow cover, which they attributed to climate change. These were mainly primary residents (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Attachment to the alpine ski model and estimation of snow cover by primary and secondary residents. Dévoluy.

Fig. 3: Attachment to the alpine ski model and estimation of snow cover by primary and secondary residents. Dévoluy.

Multiple Component Analysis (N=71). 57.17% of variance explained by axes 1 and 2

Created by Claeys, software. Sphinx. Source Pernin (2022)

35These results are similar to those obtained by Bonnemains (2015), who highlighted how climate skepticism affects adherence to the ski resort model in Savoie, and to those obtained by GDTM master’s students from ski resort users in the Céüse massif, whose analysis highlighted how alpine skiing influences these users’ attachment to ski resorts (Bonnemains and Claeys, 2023).

36However, when asked “If you were required to make major changes to your lifestyle in order to adapt to/mitigate climate change, under what conditions would you accept them?”, only seven of the respondents said they were unwilling to accept radical changes. While only eight respondents said they would accept these changes regardless, 56 were willing to accept them under certain conditions. A total of 11 respondents linked their acceptance of changes to some kind of compensatory logic (more free time, greater solidarity, or financial savings), while 13 said that their acceptance would depend on their participation in collective decisions about these changes. Finally, 32 respondents said that they would only accept lifestyle changes if the environmental burden was shared fairly (Figure 4).

Fig. 4: If you were required to make major changes to your lifestyle in order to adapt to/mitigate climate change, under what conditions would you accept them?

Fig. 4: If you were required to make major changes to your lifestyle in order to adapt to/mitigate climate change, under what conditions would you accept them?

Only one answer possible. N=71

Created by Claeys. Source Pernin (2022).

37Secondary residents were less likely than primary residents to accept lifestyle changes in the name of climate change adaptation. If they did, they were more likely to demand compensatory measures or an equitable distribution of effort. In our sample, secondary residents were more financially privileged than primary residents (80% and 20%, respectively, had household incomes above 4,000 euros per month).

38The link between willingness to contribute to environmental efforts and a sense of justice is well documented. Candau and Dedrève (2021) have shown that certain policies tend to place a greater burden of environmental effort on less privileged populations. Our initial exploratory results are consistent with these findings, which should nevertheless be tested in future surveys that capture the diversity of Alpine territories.


39The analysis presented here, which focuses on the Southern Alps, highlights the “semi-coherence” of transition policies related to winter tourism in the mountains. Although the logic of equipping ski resorts has not been questioned, the socio-technical regime of winter sports has allowed the emergence of transitional approaches. The shift from discourse (guidelines and calls for projects) to action (funding applied for and received) reveals a shift from demands for change-oriented transitions to achievements that reinforce the socio-technical model of winter sports. This socio-political attachment to the model of resorts and ski area equipment goes hand in hand with a technophile and mono-economic conservatism and reveals a certain form of path dependency (Geels, 2010; Berard-Chenu, 2021).

40Public policies aimed at supporting resorts also raise questions of equity, given that in 2016 only 12% of the population aged between 15 and 70 claimed to have practiced downhill skiing at least once in the previous 12 months18. Within the framework of the Stations de Demain contracts, regional subsidies have largely been allocated to the largest ski resorts. The issue of public financial intervention is approached from the perspective of “opportunity costs”, which means that available resources are assigned to one type of use rather than another, for example to support the transition of sectors, professions and operators (Bourdeau, 2021).

41Civil society, however, remains divided. While collective initiatives have been instrumental in the emergence of territorial transition projects, their actions and demands differ not only in terms of their initial intentions, but also in terms of what they have actually achieved.

42Lastly, the exploratory survey carried out in Dévoluy suggests that the difficulty of abandoning the winter sports model is evident for some residents, especially for the high-income secondary residents who enjoy downhill skiing. However, other residents surveyed were willing to abandon the resort model and to contemplate lifestyle changes, particularly some of the moderate- to low-income primary residents in the sample. Given the small size of our sample, these results should be interpreted with caution and may need to be confirmed by larger surveys. Nevertheless, our analyses reveal an uneven acceptance of environmental efforts that raises questions about an equitable contribution to climate change adaptation.

Haut de page


ADEME, 2022.– Réalisation de bilans de gaz à effet de serre et stratégie climatique associée. Guide sectoriel 2022 : filière sport, montagne et tourisme, 61 p. Online:, retrieved 24 February 2024.

Berard-Chenu L., 2021.– Trajectoires d’évolution des stations de sports d’hiver des Alpes françaises : la place de la production de neige, PhD thesis, 176 p.

Boltanski L., Chiapello E., 1999.– Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme, Gallimard, 843 p.

Bonnemains A., Claeys C., 2023.– “Saisir les opportunités de ses vulnérabilités ? Trajectoire territoriale d’une station de moyenne montagne, Céüze 2000”, Journal of Alpine research|Revue de géographie alpine, vol. 111, no 1. DOI:

Bourdeau P., 2008.– “Les défis environnementaux et culturels des stations de montagne”, Téoros, vol. 27, no 2, pp. 23–30. Online:, retrieved 24 February 2024.

Bourdeau P., 2021.– “Dilemmes de transition. Les destinations françaises de sports d’hiver entre agir créatif, inerties et maladaptation”, Géocarrefour, vol. 95. Online:, retrieved 24 February 2024.

Camoin A., 2020.– Le rôle complexe d’une collectivité régionale dans l’accompagnement des stations de sports d’hiver dans leur trajectoire de développement, Mémoire de Master 2 GDTM (E. Hatt, dir.), 70 p.

Candau J., Deldrève V., 2021.– Introduction. Effort environnemental et équité. Les politiques publiques de l’eau et de la biodiversité en France, Peter Lang, coll. “EcoPolis”.

CGDD, 2019.– L’action citoyenne, accélératrice de transition vers des modes de vie plus durables, Thema, 75 p. Online:éma%20-%20L%27action%20citoyenne%20-%20Accélératrice%20de%20transitions%20vers%20des%20modes%20de%20vie%20plus%20durables.pdf, retrieved 24 February 2024.

Chambru M., 2023.– “Plus haute ZAD d’Europe. Faut-il encore aménager les glaciers”, The conversation, 5 November 2023.

Claeys C., Hatt E., Chwalibog S., Arnaud A., Medioub S., Roquillet L., Rimboud L., Sigaud L., Pernin R., Laurent F., 2022.– Le projet de recherche TransEnAlpes : premiers résultats, publication Région Sud-PACA, 3 p.

Clarimont S., Vles V., 2008.– Tourisme durable en montagne : entre discours et pratiques. Préambule et introduction, Editions AFNOR, 226 p.

Clivaz, C., Gonseth, C., Matasci, C. 2015.– Tourisme d’hiver : le défi climatique, PPUR Presses polytechniques.

Corneloup J., 2023.– La montagne récréative, une transition en chemin. Presses universitaires de Grenoble, 398 p.

Cottin-Marx S., Flipo F., Lagneau A., 2013.– “La transition, une utopie concrète ?” Mouvements, vol. 3, no 75, pp. 7–12. DOI:

Coulangeon P., Demoli Y., Ginsburger M., Petev I., 2023.– La conversion écologique des français, Contradictions et clivages, PUF.

Deldrève V., Candau J., Noûs C., 2021.– Effort environnemental et équité : les politiques publiques de l’eau et de la biodiversité en France, Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 534 p.

Fablet G., 2015.– Entre performance de l’outil de production et pérennité de l’outil d’aménagement : le dilemme immobilier dans les stations nouvelles d’altitude, PhD in Urban Planning, Université de Grenoble.

François H. Billet S., 2010.– “De la station au territoire : quels contours pour les destinations touristiques ?”, Mondes du tourisme, no 2, pp. 87–98. DOI:

Fuenfschilling L., Truffer B. 2014.– “The structuration of socio-technical regimes-Conceptual foundations from institutional theory”, Research policy, vol. 43, no 4, pp. 772–791. DOI:

Geels F.W. 2010.– “Ontologies, socio-technical transitions (to sustainability), and the multi-level perspective”, Research Policy, vol. 39, no 4, pp. 495–510.

George-Marcelpoil E., Perrin-Bensahel L., François H. (dir.), 2010.– Les stations de sports d’hiver face au développement durable. État des lieux et perspectives, L’Harmattan, coll. “Les idées et les théories à l’épreuve des faits”, 176 p.

George E., Achin C., François H., Spandre P., Morin S., Verfaillie D., 2019.– “Changement climatique et stations de montagne alpines : Impacts et stratégies d’adaptation”, Ingénieries, no 28, pp. 44–51. DOI:

Hakimi-Pradels N., Grison J.-B., Koop K., Landelet P.-A., 2022.– “Initiatives citoyennes de transition soutenable et diffusion : formes et fonctions de la mise en réseaux territorialisés”, Développement Durable et Territoires, vol. 13, no 1. DOI:

Köhler J., Geels F. W., Kern F., Markard J., Onsongo E., Wieczorek A. & Wells P.– 2019. “An agenda for sustainability transitions research: State of the art and future directions”, Environmental innovation and societal transitions, no 31, pp. 1–32.

Koop K. 2021.– Changer le monde, changer de mondes. Pour une géographie des transformations sociétales par le bas, Habilitation à diriger des recherches, Université Grenoble Alpes, 229 p.

Hatt E., Claeys C., Chwalibog S., Arnaud A., Pernin R., Laurent F., Buira V., Hosking D., Jolimet C. Marmonnier J., 2023.– Rapport final de recherche TransEnAlpes, publication Région Sud-PACA, Fabriques de la connaissance, 347 p.

Hatt E., 2021.– “Quelle place pour le tourisme dans la planification spatiale des territoires de montagne ? Enquête au sein de la Communauté de communes des Pyrénées Catalanes”, Sud-Ouest Européen, no 51, déc. 2021, pp. 109–126.

Hatt E., Vles V., 2014.– “Mutations socio-environnementales et perspectives d’adaptation des stations de montagne pyrénéenne”, Sud-Ouest Européen, no 37, pp. 15–28. DOI:

Larrère C., Larrère R., Bouleau N., 2016.– “Les transitions écologiques à Cerisy”, Natures Sciences Sociétés, vol. 24, pp. 242–250. DOI:

Loorbach D., Frantzeskaki N., Avelino F., 2017.– “Sustainability transitions research: transforming science and practice for societal change”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, vol. 42, pp. 599–626. DOI:

Marieu J., 2018.– “Planifier la croissance des résidences secondaires”, Revue Urbanisme, no 411, pp. 42–44.

Morin S., 2022.– “Le changement climatique en montagne : impacts, risques et adaptation”, Annales des Mines, no 16, pp. 37–41.

OCDE, 2007.– Changements climatiques dans les Alpes européennes, OCDE.

Oudot J., De L’estoile E., 2020.– “La transition écologique, de Rob Hopkins au ministère”, Regards croisés sur l’économie, 2020/1, no 26, pp. 14–19. DOI:

Pernin R., 2022.– La transition énergétique des stations de sports d’hiver des Alpes du Sud : le programme TransenAlpes 2, Mémoire de M1 GDTM (C. Claeys et E. Hatt [ed.]), June 2022, 208 p.

Schoeny A., 2022.– “Le Pôle d’accueil universitaire Séolane de Barcelonnette : analyse qualitative d’un tourisme scientifique entre expérimentation et médiation montagnardes”, Journal of Alpine Research|Revue de géographie alpine, vol. 110, no 1. DOI:

Sesso V., Hébel P., 2019.– Consommation durable : l’engagement de façade des classes supérieures, CREDOC, Consommation et modes de vie, mars 2019, no 303.

Villalba B., Melin H., 2022.– “Expérimentations de transition écologique”, Développement durable et territoires, vol. 13, no 1. |, mis en ligne le 22 juillet 2022, consulté le 8 déc. 2022. DOI:

Vles, V., Hatt E., 2019.– “Des stations de ski et d’alpinisme confrontées aux enjeux de la transition : changement énergétique et écologique, évolution touristique, requalification urbaine”, in J. Spindler, N. Peypoch (ed.), Le tourisme hivernal – clé de succès et de développement pour les collectivités de montagne ?, L’Harmattan.

Haut de page


1 The “Climate and Resilience” law of August 22, 2021, aims to halve the consumption of natural, agricultural or forest areas between 2021 and 2031, compared to the period 2011-2021, and to achieve zero net artificialization of land by 2050.

2 All the actions approved or planned in 2020 under this contract have been catalogued in order to study the themes of the actions, the promoters, the amounts invested, and the level of regional financial commitment.

3 In 2020, the municipality had 475 primary residences and 4,073 secondary and occasional residences ( The sample is therefore modest, but it provides the first statistically significant results (rules of applicability for the Chi2 test have been respected).

4 The Avenir Montagnes fund, endowed with 331 million euros over two years, has two components: an investment component of 300 million euros and a technical component of 31 million euros.

5 PNR du Lubéron (04/84), Alpes-de-Haute-Provence resorts (04), Lac de Serre-Ponçon (05), PETR du Briançonnais, des Ecrins, du Guillestrois et du Queyras (05), PNR des Baronnies provençales (05/26), Communauté Riviera française/Vallée de la Roya (06) and Syndicat mixte des stations de Gréolières et l’Audibergue (06).



8 According to Boltanski and Chiapello (1999).

9 The Southern Region had 24 ski resorts and 6.5 million skier days in 2016-2017.

10 The Espaces Valléens network currently includes 35 regions in the Alps, 19 of which are in the SUD region.

11 The “Stations de Demain” contracts were designed to stimulate investment in the resorts. A total of 20 contracts have been implemented by the Regional Council. A new generation of “Station 2030” contracts was signed in 2022.

12 Almost half of these operations were for artificial snow, representing 23% of the total of 179 subsidized operations (Camoin, 2020)

13 Comments made during interviews with ski resort managers (2020) and with representatives of the PACA region’s mountain department (2023)

14 The three projects with a strong environmental transition dimension are: a study of sustainable, coherent and networked tourist mobility in the Serre Chevalier resort, the Flexgrid program launched by the Montgenèvre resort (deployment of optimized energy systems) and energy renovation projects in the accommodation sector (installation of intelligent heating systems and servers) undertaken by Valberg (the only resort in the Southern Alps to be awarded the Flocon Vert label).





Haut de page

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: Themes and the amounts invested for the Stations de demain contracts
Crédits Camoin, 2020
Fichier image/png, 275k
Titre Fig. 2: Amounts invested and number of interventions by type of ski resort
Crédits Camoin, 2020
Fichier image/png, 297k
Titre Fig. 3: Attachment to the alpine ski model and estimation of snow cover by primary and secondary residents. Dévoluy.
Légende Multiple Component Analysis (N=71). 57.17% of variance explained by axes 1 and 2
Fichier image/jpeg, 77k
Titre Fig. 4: If you were required to make major changes to your lifestyle in order to adapt to/mitigate climate change, under what conditions would you accept them?
Légende Only one answer possible. N=71
Crédits Created by Claeys. Source Pernin (2022).
Fichier image/png, 312k
Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Émeline Hatt et Cécilia Claeys, « Dependence, Attachment, Opposition: The Transition of Ski Resorts. A Case Study of the Southern Alps »Journal of Alpine Research | Revue de géographie alpine [En ligne], 112-1 | 2024, mis en ligne le 14 avril 2024, consulté le 19 mai 2024. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


Émeline Hatt

Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning and Development
Aix Marseille Univ, LIEU, Marseille, France

Articles du même auteur

Cécilia Claeys

Professor of Sociology
University of Perpignan, CRESEM

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur


Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search