Dave G, who by now should have gotten skied enough to not, trolled:
"Oh, yeah, one other thing. 4WD/AWD is not necessary to drive in the
mountains of Vermont. Repeat: 4WD/AWD is not necessary. In most cases,
it's not even better.

In essence, there are three things you ask your car to do: accelerate,
turn, and stop. AWD does one of these things better, namely accelerate.
It turns and stops no better than FWD (or for that matter, RWD).
Traction under acceleration is great if you're racing in the snow, or if
you have steep hills, such as a driveway, you need to climb. If you're
doing either of those, AWD is great.

For the record, in my FWD Mazda 6 with Hakka RSi's, I have never been
stopped by App Gap at its worst, or for that matter any other gap in
Vermont. Futhermore, it's downright comfortable driving. I'm usually
slowed down by an AWD Subaru. Given a choice, I will always grab the
keys for the FWD Mazda before my 4WD pickup."

I'd agree for the most part, although I'd contend that AWD (as opposed to 4WD) is better for turning than either F or RWD.  The computerized wheel balancing is highly efficient and has definitely helped me through a couple of corners that I entered to hot, where my previous FWD Toyota, Nissan or Honda would have ended up off the side.  In addition, the improved acceleration that Dave references includes, in the case of AWD, the ability to accelerate and maintain traction of all 4 wheels without the same potential for fishtailing, which I find to be the single most disconcerting winter-driving habit of the greater Boston-area commuter crowd. 
- Patrick (not skied, but at least my new hot tub should be up and running by next weekend).  

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