fuck i would never spend that much on a vehicle that is going to get mud, snow, salted...potential to get hit by some douche snow driver, slamed in to a snow bank, dinged and scraped by boards and skis....and....
I'd drive some reliable old pos tercel sr5 or old toy with a 22r and spend some of the budget on a heli/cat trip.
as for the fun factor...get a pos vw camper van and have a snow bunny harem
wrx is cool and all but really only fits 3 at the most comfortably with all the gear...and since you are a relatively inexperienced driver...you'll wreck the damm thing in relatively short order
Well, I think with sedans I'm resigning myself to fitting in 3 at most regardless of anything I get. There's always the option of getting a roof rack, which expands my options tremendously. As for cost, well, it's also going to be my everyday car, so why not? I'd like to not touch the $40k ceiling, but again, that was just an arbitrary cap I set so that I don't get people who recommend ridiculously priced cars.
As for experience, I have about 7 years of driving experience at about 10k miles per year, which is a significant amount of driving for someone living in NYC (keep in mind I'm only 26). Plus, with some exceptions I'd much rather drive in the middle of a snowstorm out on the road than through the streets of Manhattan (pedestrian traffic lights are treated as suggestions more than laws, and there are A LOT of pedestrians). So I wouldn't worry too much about that part.
Seems like the WRX is worth a good, hard look. Thanks for the tips, boarderholic. Stickz, I heard the same thing about Audis unfortunately, but when they work they are incredibly fun to drive! I would love it if anyone has ever had experience driving a GTI.