without the challenge or danger there is NO SKILL BUILDING, and like school, if you don't learn the periodic table or basic algebra there will be no further development, to say nothing of evolution or growth.
I'm generally a lurker on these threads, and have no interest in getting into an internet flamewar. But this claim - that trails have to be exponentially difficult for any kind of learning to occur - is so wrong that I wanted to respond to it.
I started mountain biking consistently around three years ago. It's been a steep learning curve and I'm a classic weekend warrior, but I'm out on the trails every chance I get and working to progress my skills on every ride and I love it all, even when I end up walking my bike down something my courage wasn't quite ready for.
I also turn 40 in a couple of months. I've been through the experience of having a major injury and surgery and spending a year away from the things I loved while I rehabbed. I'm not interested in doing that again.
I'm finally getting pretty capable on blacks. I'm starting to try double blacks. I can't ride everything on them, but the fact I can ride some of it is hugely encouraging and motivates me to keep coming back to things that are beyond my paygrade right now. Each time I ride a feature that I walked the time before it's a huge achievement that encourages me to try something else that I originally thought was beyond me. One day soon I'll be able to link it all together and ride the trail clean. And then I'll ride it faster, and then I'll ride something harder and start all over again.
This is how we progress. This is how people learn to love the sport and become capable of riding the old school gnar. I can't ride much of it yet, but I'm getting there and that makes me so incredibly stoked. Having progressive trails means I can keep working toward that goal.
This Fromme you talk about, where it's all groomed and gravelled and suitable for baby trailers? I don't recognize that Fromme at all. Sure, there are a handful of easier trails as you work your way up to the tough stuff, but I remember riding Seventh for the first time and it sure as hell didn't feel easy then. Now it feels easier but Executioner? Bookwus? They don't feel easy. Maybe one day they will. The important thing is that they're there, I can ride them (and walk the parts I can't yet ride), and be very grateful to the people who built and maintain these amazing trails that have given me so much over the past three years.