LUPTONI HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend AWD or 4x4, Growing up my mom always had fwd cars even with the best snow tires it was never fun.
When i bought new tires for my truck i asked for good winter tires and the guy laughed at me, "you know she has 4x4" and its true, always felt safe even driving around on the slipperiest roads in whistler.
I grew up driving an 85' Civic in the country with roughly 5-10km of gravel roads (rarely pretty in winter). Maybe not the mountains, but we got a crap load of snow. All my other cars have either been fwd or rwd with the exception of my 4runner, but I was more comfortable driving all of them in winter than the 4runner. (Also grew up driving my dad's trucks, so it's not that I wasn't used to driving a truck in winter)
I'm not saying awd or 4x4 is a bad thing, and it's probably better if you live in the mountains, BUT if you aren't an idiot (i.e. - a half decent driver) and have winter tires you'll be just fine in almost any car in almost any conditions.