Some of the distros can cause more problems than they're worth (SnowOSX for me, for example). Nor are distros the fool-proof solution--sometimes you have to do more homework and more hacking to get them to work. Not to mention that depending on your hardware, some distros are literally hit-and-miss.
Just curious, Y stay away from the distros?
Do they have their place? Absolutely.
I myself use distros, but even still there's quite a bit of legwork to be done, and I already know my machine is rather picky when it comes to install discs--have not managed to get my Snow retail to boot even with EmpireEFI, custom boot-132, etc. Of course, I don't have full control and cannot exactly make my OS X install to my whims.
For that reason I too recommend that if you look at the specs of your rig and see that it comes close to what another community member has already established with a retail install, I'd say try the retail install first.
As for the comment that said that nobody is making Snow distros--last I heard, uphuck's team is working on iKaros, Hazard just put out something, and SnowOSX has been out there for a while.
And, don't forget, the easiest way to get Snow running is to simply purchase a Mac capable of running it...