I live and drive the same route/area as L'gorge, and have the opposite view. I've met the man and can say with confidence that we both know what we are talking about.
I just put my snowtires on from nov-march or mid april usually, with 2 sets of tires and proper rotation you can really make your money last with rubber.
I'm also driving into the mountains like 3-5 days a week during the season.
Many truck drivers swear by AT tires only, however many people who have enjoyed the experience of snow tires will put them on everything, full size trucks, SUVs, you name it.
Oh and I'm in a fwd coupe, not an awd wagon.
Nothing is more important than driver skill and a respect for physics on ice. I narrowly avoided a pretty gnarly accident last night on I70 as a suby who was trying to show off mashed the gas next to me and lost it.
from my other post:
I just got home driving down a 7% incline in a snowstorm on i70 and came within a fucking matrix scene of getting taken out by some dickhead as he mashed the gas and went sideways backed into the middle median in front of me at about 60mph and then came forward into my lane just behind me crashing into the right wall as well and causing a pileup behind. Pretty drivey hot and bothered right now!