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Emmanuelle George and Coralie Achin

Focusing on the case of the French Alps and its ski resorts, this chapter presents how a local resource – snow – has been at the centre of diversification processes over the years. Using the notion of a local resource developed in the 2000s in the field of territorial economics, George and Achin show how the diversification processes succeeded in valorising snow and snow-related resources. Winter sports first exploited the local snow resource before it was necessary to respond to clienteles’ new expectations by widening the range of local resources used. Over time, the environmental and landscape heritage, as well as the cultural (whether agricultural or industrial) heritage linked to the history of the area, have become the local resources to develop. This notion of a local tourism resource has clearly changed over the past few decades and raises corollary questions: at what scale should this diversification be developed, and who should the actors be? Answers to these questions are provided by focusing on the situation of the French Alps and the array of public policies of the Valley Areas (Espaces Valléens) conventions. The authors highlight how the diversification processes have unfolded, raising questions about the type of activities promoted and the area(s) concerned in a renewed local context and, finally, the leaders of this new tourism.