Winter Sports in France: A Conflicting Development?

Special Report: Innovations and Territories
History of a Tourism Innovation (1890–1940)
By Bertrand Larique

The development of winter sports as a tourist activity began in France during the 1890s and had to deal with conflicts and resistances from local populations. Indeed, suspicious towards an activity they didn’t create, mountain dwellers were often against an innovation which would have a development and some consequences they couldn’t control. They were also worried to be disturbed in their traditional way of life and threatened in their socio-cultural identity. This article aims at analysing the various sorts of conflicts which grew during the process of organisation and development of winter sports in France and how the settlement of these conflicts led to convert almost all mountain people to the winter sports economy by the end of the 1930s. Lastly, this article examins the system of actors and institutions involved in the development of this new way of tourism.

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