The development of a ski resort at Risoul 1850 dates from the start of the 1970s. The first lift operator (SAPAR), however, went bankrupt in 1974. The local member of parliament put the council in touch with the Société Foncière de la Vallée des Allues (SFVA). The SFVA started a company called Sermont which took over the lifts and runs them to this day.
The reasons for the bankruptcy in 1974 still loom. The Durance valley is remote, the trip from Paris by train or car a long one. The A51 motorway link is still awaiting a financial commitment likewise the Montgenèvre rail tunnel to connect Briançon to the TGV network. The nearest major airport is over the border in Italy at Turin. The resort concentrates its efforts on returning clients but still lacks sufficient long stay guests. The Forêt Blanche link with its 180 km of pistes is a major marketing tool, especially with tour operators who can include Risoul with transfers to Montgènevre and Serre Chevalier.
The resort was an early adopter of snowboarding. The Surfland snowpark existed for over a decade and is now complemented by rails for beginners and experienced users. The snowpark was chosen as a training zone for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. The resort believes that the concept of black, red and blue run gradings is outdated and is moving to a series of themed areas such as the freeride zone.
Home to Team Sky following stage 14 of the 2014 Tour de France, le Chardon Bleu is a 2* hotel in the ski resort of Risoul 1850 offering accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge, a TV lounge, relaxation area, jacuzzi and sauna. The rooms are generously proportioned – two riders will share a triple room in many cases – and in some cases include a terrace overlooking the town or the valley.