This thread has got me thinking, & eventually I will probably start a new thread.
I have always lived in the mountains & traveled in snow country. In 1980 I owned a 4WD Subaru hatchback & ran four real snow tires on it. That car was a tank & never let me down even in a few huge Tahoe snow years. Since 1990 I have owned 2 Subaru AWD Legacy's & and 2 Impreza WRX's. On these vehicles I have always run All Season M+S tires & never had a real problem, although I seem to burn through tires really quickly. Some have been better in the snow than others, & some have been better performance on dry pavement. None, (like All Mountain Skis) have been the perfect combination.
To my surprise, my new 1.5 month old 2012 WRX came with summer tires. My first thought was to get separate rims & mount some dedicated snows for the winter, & just switch in the summer. Now I am questioning that idea, as this is high performance car & I am a bit concerned about not having speed rated tires. So, what to do? Do I just put All Seasons on my present rims & switch back in the summer till I wear the summer tires out? Do I get another set of rims & try the Mountain symbol tires which would probably be a traction improvement over All Seasons & still give me decent performance? Where I live in UT now is not nearly as severe as it was for the many years I lived in Tahoe & had to deal with chain control areas frequently. I do live on a steep hill now, which gets pretty slick on snowy mornings. I am also driving to the ski area daily which although does not implement chain controls, does get dicey at times.
I am also concerned about others statements that summer tires suck in cold temps & rain!