Re: Can they do something more useful instead?
NakaSC asked: "how hard is it to change from summer to winter tyres?"
Canada here. We have some experience with this.
Buy another set of four rims. Even if they're mediumly-expensive aftermarket alloys. Then you can change over to winter tires in your driveway.
The point is not to save money in the long run (although that's almost more-or-less true). The point is that you can change to winter tires on your own schedule. Like when they announce a major snow storm is suddenly and unexpectedly arriving 'early' on the 10th of November, then the garages will be booked up until mid-December. The actual expense comes when you crash because you're forced to drive on icy roads with your useless summer tires. It's just easier to do it yourself. Takes maybe an hour.
So it's best to purchase four additional rims, four studded ice tires (e.g. Nokian Hakkawhatevertheyrecalled), and an AWD car. Then you can go out in the middle of an ice storm and harass the SUV drivers by blowing them off at the lights. Or drive into and out of foot deep snow banks, in a comedically-capable AWD car (e.g. Mercedes 4Matic AWD). Or stop in the middle of an ice cover hill, and then accelerate away hard, up the icy hill.
It's actually perfectly normal to have to drive through 6 or 8 inches of snow once in a while. More dangerous is the ice, because crashing is much worse than merely being a bit stuck.