This is the first of a new series of threads to talk about skills of the Ranger. It's blatantly stolen from Gorani's Elementalist Skills of Interest, because it's fun. For now, we will start with:
Current GW2wiki description:
Throw an axe to chill your foe. Your pet's next attack inflicts weakness.
As a short cooldown cripple on a ranged weapon, you'd expect this skill to offer great defensive and chasing value and Winter's Bite does not disappoint. In fact it excels.
The 3 second chill is on par with all other Weapon snares, and provides the added bonus of slowing recharging skills down considerably. The weakness applied by your pet means turning on it, instead of you, is a soon-to-be-ineffective strategy. Lastly, the 10 second recharge is the second lowest amongst all Ranger snares and the lowest amongst the ranged snares (only Sword has a faster cooldown).
Its Place On The Bar
Being a main-hand axe skill, Winter's Bite comes prepackaged with Ricochet and Splitblade. Ricochet offers some decent AoE in moderately sized fights and Splitblade allows you to either Bleed one target x5 (dealing a bunch of damage) or cover max. five targets with Bleeding x1 (possibly covering a lot of more valuable conditions).
Winter's Bite holds no particular synergy with Ricochet, but excels with Splitblade - move near an enemy, Splitblade for very nice damage, dodge backwards and Bite them.
Though Bite is not a finisher itself, the other two are, making main-hand axe combine well with an off-hand Torch, with its Fire field and heavy focus on condition DOTs (though in the form of burning not bleeding).
As utility skills, consider focusing on Survival. Sharpening Stone's obvious synergy with Splitblade (an immediate 10 stacks of bleeding will send most enemies panicking), the additional cripple/immobilize from Muddy Terrain on top of Winter's Bite (and as an AoE persistent slow down for below Bonfire) will grant you a lot of condi control. Either other utility survival skill is good in it's own right. The Elite survival skill complements you well.
A radically different approach, which can work with some planning and makes you less weak to stack condi removal is to equip a War Horn and use Traps (with Rampage as One as an Elite). This is much more supportive though and makes less use of Winter's Bite nice control stats and doesn't allow the immediate pressure Sharpening Splitblade provides.
Taking a look at the traits, you can see the focus on getting high Malice and Expertise causing Bleeding and Cripple (Keen Edge, Sharpened Edges, Pred's Instincts), with Toughness, Protection and Vigor providing your defense (pretty much the Wilderness Survival line). As an added bonus, Axe Crits are going to be frequent and hurt like hell, with some vulnerability to boot and a 20% recharge reduction on your utilities and elite.
As a secondary set, I'd probably choose Sword/Axe which works fine with Survival utilities and gets all the Trait bonuses (though a duplicate second set could be used for reducing skill recharges). When not having an Axe on second, I'd remove five points from Skirmishing and place them in Nature Magic, as Rejuvenation combines well with Keen Edge for multiple Sharpening Stones.
So, ended up talking more about main hand axe, so maybe I'll change this series to Weapons of Interest. Sounds more sensible. That aside, Winter's Bite is a good, defensive weapon skill on a good, condi-heavy weapon, which as most sensibly simple skills has a myriad of applications. So apply them!