I have sprayed some silicone lubricant into the cables and covered the ends with white grease under the rubber boots.
So far no problems while last year I could not use the handbrake at all in the winter!
proof if ever it was needed that preperation prevents problems
Yep - the cold spell finally worked its way down to Kent in earnest last night and my 159 wasn't for moving this morning until the handbrake cables thawed out! So it's back to 1st gear only until I get a knife into the piggy bank to fork out on a new set of cables. All of them seem to go that way all too quickly - 156, 147, GTs et al. Groan!
the problem isn't so much the cables themselves as the stupid route that they are given. the come up from underneath the hub so the last foot or so is pointing uphill
any deterioration in the rubber sheath over the inner cable and water simply runs into the outer cable. sits there for ages. i've removed cables off cars before and they've dripped for ages, even in mild weather.
once the water is in there it's not too much of an issue, until it freezes then it jams the brakes on.
new cables or greased ends are the ONLY way to go
using the hand-brake is inviting other problems. on calipers the mechanism doesn't need much invitation to seize so a few months of not moving then suddenly being asked to work as normal can result in the mechanism becoming siezed. much worse (expensive) than replacing the cables, which thinking about it i seem to do on all cars i buy as a matter of course
and i use my handbrake all through the winter