The future of mid-mountain ski resorts, “fresh tourism” ?

The future of mid-mountain ski resorts, “fresh tourism” ?

L'Aigoual, “un poumon économique, social et touristique” pour le territoire. Midi Libre – Midi Libre

While global warming is undermining the economic model of many resorts, the "four seasons" is advocated by many experts. Particularly in Occitania.

Studies, reports and other projections follow one another and often arrive at the same conclusion: the future of winter sports is getting darker with global warming.

In 2021, the Network of Expertise on Climate Change in Occitanie (Reco) published its Crocc (Occitanie regional notebook on climate change), the result of ten months of work by more than 200 contributors and scientific reference document intended for territorial stakeholders. For the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, the observation is similar: "The increase in temperatures causes a less frequent occurrence of snow episodes in mid-mountains, an increase in winter precipitation in the form of rain up to increasingly higher altitudes as well as a early onset of snowmelt. Climate projections are just as alarmist, "they indicate an increase in these trends, with a significant reduction in snow accumulation, which, in the last quarter of the 20th century, could reach -78% below 1,500 meters". QED.

Lengthening seasons

However, the specialists who have studied the consequences on the activities of the different territories do not bury the ski resorts in the region, even those located at low altitude. "The tourism sector could benefit from a competitive advantage and position itself on "fresh tourism", with a season that could be extended into spring or in autumn with the softening of temperatures, they write. "The diversification of practices and the lengthening of the seasons are encouraged for these resorts, so that they can continue and maintain jobs by promoting activities less vulnerable to the availability of snow.

The example of the Alti Aigoual station

This is precisely the example of the work launched in 2011 by the Causses-Aigoual Cévennes community of communes which is taken as an example. "The Alti Aigoual station, due to its geographical location, has a major role to play in ensuring responsible and local mountain activities for the population of Gard, Hérault and Lozère. A local role, too, as an economic, social and tourist lung for the surroundings of the Aigoual massif which strongly needs it, estimate the scientists. They then advocated "a reconversion into a four-season resort to adapt to the challenges of climate change, even if winter remains a season of the future on the massif’ ;quot;. A future that just has to be written differently. Also in 2021, the territorial and rural balance pole (PETR) Causses & Cévennes was selected among the first 32 winning territories from Avenir Montagne Ingénierie for the requalification of the Prat Peyrot/Alti-Aigoual resort identified as a priority.

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