Thanks for the all the explanations - it's really appreciated. I'm not a "car" guy by any means. I'm an IT guy so I can tell you about all the systems and how they work, but car stuff is an enigma to me.
Going from my old car to my new I'm finding I have to retrain some of my driving habits. Like in snow I always put the car in lower gear on hills before. Also, my older car didn't have ABS so that's something new I have to get used to.
Follow up question with this...reading about the activetrac w/ESC it seems like if a wheel loses traction the system will brake on the other side to try to maintain control. Do you guys find this is helpful in snow conditions? It almost feels like where giving away some control to a computer.