I would Lime Clean
the deck, which will prepare it better than sanding alone.
We actually stain new pressure treated the first year after Lime Clean and it works well.
I think your area, in that amount of sun and snow, I would go with Mountain XT
in a color that balances your desires with longevity.
Mountain XT is a much different technology than the epoxy fortified stuff. I’m pretty sure they discontinued that product. Rather than using water based resins, the Mountain XT uses dense tree resins that are oil based and known to handle tough weather well. It doesn’t get stripped every year. Once properly applied the wood fiber cell gets infused and future maintenance will bring about a petrification effect. In your area, that is what I would go for. Something that can really sure up the wood and bolster itself as the years go by.