A few thoughts about this:
- the 29'er seems to be a pretty good choice for riding on packed snow / ice, running 10 pounds lower tire pressure than normal.
- the cross bike with studded tires seems to work too; it is more efficient, seemingly on the packed and dry spots, though it cuts through fragile snow a bit easier and rides a bit rougher when it does.
- don't count on turning or stopping fast.
- smooth handling seems a key to not crashing. Relax, just keep the pedals turning smoothly. One hour, 6-8 miles, no crashes. All that riding 'cross in the mud helps.
- the hip flask of Van Gogh espresso-flavored vodka that Seibold brought didn't hurt either, though peppermint schnapps or bourbon would probably be just as effective.
- it's an hour's worth of work, not 6-8 miles worth. the pedaling is a lot harder with the funny surfaces and heavy clothes.