I'm in PA as well, and I really don't see the needed extra expense of buying wheels and snow tires. We've had what, 12-14" total snowfall so far (in most areas)? If I lived in New England or western northern states, I'd spring for dedicated snow tires. I personally don't see the need for most of PA, though.You're going to run one tire year round and you live in an area that sees a lot of winter? Personally, I prefer dedicated snows in the winter and a very mild all season in the summer. I run Vanderbilt Arctic Claws in the winter and Yokohama AVID Ascends in the summer. However, in your situation (someone who just wants a good all season) I would recommend three options: Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All Season, Michelin Defender, Nokian WR-G2.
The Goodyear is tried and proven and is very popular amongst Subaru owners, especially Forester owners. In fact I put a set on my friend's '09 Forester, so far they are doing very well for her. The Nokian is arguably the best all season around for snow traction... it looks like a snow tire but is actually a low rolling resistance all season. It is very soft though, so it only carries a 50,000 mile treadlife warranty. Nokian manufacturers some of the best winter tires in the world, and they extend that technology into all of their tires. The Michelin is new (came out in the spring of 2012) so winter traction is still a little bit up in the air, but it has a very good tread design. Also, a friend of mine has a 1998 Buick Regal GS (supercharged... the car has trouble keeping traction with regular tires on dry pavement while under acceleration), he just put a set of Michelin Defenders on the car. The thing does almost as well in the snow as my Outback does with the Arctic Claws... very impressive.
The way I look at it, I'd rather have them and not need them, than need them and not have them. I want to be able to go anywhere I want, regardless of the weather. Winter tires help make that happen. Besides, most tires that try to do everything well, end up not doing anything well. Some are better than most, granted, but for me there is no replacement for traction. I've convinced my friends that live locally and my father of the same thing.I'm in PA as well, and I really don't see the needed extra expense of buying wheels and snow tires. We've had what, 12-14" total snowfall so far (in most areas)? If I lived in New England or western northern states, I'd spring for dedicated snow tires. I personally don't see the need for most of PA, though.
My VDC has been plowing through everything with just the all-season Starfire tires on it (Cooper's off brand). I even pulled my mom's '07 F-150 AWD Harley Edition out of a 2' deep snow-filled ditch.
I'm not 100% for recommending the Starfire tires. Overall, they're pretty decent for cheap tires. I have no complaints for wet and snow traction. Ride quality is decent, and they're not really loud.
Look for something with a stiff sidewall - SUV-spec tire would be best. That's what I'll be getting when the time comes to replace these.