Here is my $0.02 worth
I think its really a matter of personal preference as well as geographical location.
Me personally? I think, in Georgia, a hard top is an abomination. (Poor man's Hummer?) We rarely get snow or really bad winters. When we do they don't last that long. Hell, this past "winter" we hardly hit freezing on any semblance of a consistent basis and it was short sleeve weather the majority of the time. I don't think I once had to get out my winter jacket. The vast majority of the time here it's going to be top down weather so putting a hard top on a vehicle that looks so bad ass with the top off should be a crime.
Now Georgia != Maine, so in areas of the country that actually have Winter and spend weeks and/or months covered in snow I can see the need for a hard top. In the frozen months it'll fare better than a soft top especially if you don't have a garage to park in. I can't imagine a soft top would hold up long term if it is constantly piled up with snow regularly. I've never been to Maine but I have been to New Jersey in February so I've seen some serious snow piles that would pretty much cripple Georgia for weeks and have people screaming about the End of Days. Hell, all it takes here to close every school is a light dusting of the dreaded frozen stuff. When that happens good frakin luck finding milk, bread, or eggs. Apparently everyone down here stays home and makes French Toast when it snows.
If I lived in an area of the country that actually had a Winter like you do, I'd probably get a dual top option and either install a hard top lift in my garage for storage or get a rolling rack and set aside a corner for when the temps are not in the single digits.
I also freely admit I have no current experience with off road adventures w/ lots of mud so I will have to defer to others to extol the virtues (or not) of a hard top in those situations.