I wonder what the percentage is for those who head to the hill in their own ride vs a rental. For me, until I can move to where it actually snows and there are actual mountains higher than a landfill, I will be renting. I had two very different experiences in CO in general this year, and Summit Co. in particular...
First was April. A lot of skiing was going on, so the best I could afford was a Kia FWD, I don't even want to post what it cost for the week. It had all seasons on, and after the pass from Vail to Frisco finally opened that first evening of the Gathering, I nearly got stuck on 70 and became That Guy when we all had to sit on the first eastbound grade for a while and when it was time to go, the front simply didn't want to hook up. Patience and a dim memory of living on the ice coast helped, but not before I had a knot in my tummy. The Kia actually helped a little; it had nice steering and throttle 'feel', if for no other reason than that the crate is so minimalist that there was nothing to soften the seat-of-pants experience.
Next was May at A-basin. for 8 (!!!) bucks a day, I could have had the same quirky Kia Soul, or for $14 a mid-size SUV with AWD (Chevy Traverse). The Chevy had steering feedback not unlike the '64 Ford Galaxy 500 XL I learned to drive on, but all four wheels would turn if I had to stop on a snowy/icy grade, which was comforting since I figured I wasn't going to get soft winter tires from a rental. The weather ended up being mild anyway.
I am trying to buy a car that is 'future proofed' for using as a ski rig in a year or two, and currently the ones I like are more or less in line with the OP (see? not a threadjack. Sort of): VW TDI, Golf and Sportwagen, 2012 Ford Focus hatch (phenomenal driving car for the price), maybe a used Mazda3 hatch, all manual. Too bad the Mazda CX-5 isn't out yet, it looks really promising.
I haven't looked at snows yet, but the word count for Blizzak is like a dozen. No wait, now Blizzak appears 13 times. no, 14, arrrgh!