@dankempster: I would like the snow a lot more if we didn't have it upwards of 7-8 months a year. Moving back here was my own stupid decision, though, so I take full blame for it.
I tried at first to have my character be a pure mage, because I assumed that the level cap was something like Fallout's (i.e. 30 or so). At first, it worked great - roasting early mobs with the flamethrower-like spells was a cakewalk. But destruction and healing magic increased very slowly for me, and after a certain point, my equipped weapons outpaced my spells and it soon became necessary to use them instead. One of the very few annoying parts of Skyrim is not being able to craft spells. I used trainers almost specifially for spells, and had a hell of a time finding a Restoration teacher until I hit the college. Even now, I have to keep a notebook handy with the locations of various trainers, as I'm still trying to increase some of my magic to help round out my character.