Pros: stable, powerful, precise ski, great edge hold,surprisingly light feel, versatile frontside oriented ski
Cons: Longer turn radius than most in this class
The 8.5ti is fantastic ski. 85 underfoot, it has some tip and tail early rise; more than you see on most skis in this class but don't let that fool you, this is a serious western carving ripping tool! The 8.5ti is a fairly stiff ski but at my 6' 170#'s I did not find it difficult; in fact, it's just a lot of fun! However, I wouldn't put an intermediate on this ski. The 8.5ti was capable of various turn radii. I think it was most happy making long and medium turns and short edge to edge turns were a breeze. With the turned up and rounded tail you could carve it or feather it as needed. I liked how it didn't lock you into a turn but it didn't wash either. It's really up to the skier this is a trait that I really appreciate and find valuable. Although it has some tip rocker, I experienced no flap but could tell on the 8" piles of wetter snow that the skis seemed to rise up a bit but due to the stiffness cuts through as well. It makes carving through the piles fun! The tip engages well and this ski has tenacious edge hold. I liked how you could really feel the entire length of the ski underfoot. It has a fairly large sweet spot but staying balanced over this ski works the best.
The 8.5 is as you expect, a very stable ski with gobs of energy and pop with a great feel underfoot. I have not opened it up yet but its so stable in soft spring-like conditions including piled loose snow I cannot imagine much will deflect this ski. Its been a blast in the soft snow but I can't wait to get it on some soft corduroy. This ski will rip.
Summary: near perfect stiffer (race-like) soft and hard snow frontside ski that is probably better for western or larger eastern resorts. If you want something that is narrow enough for carving groomers but still capable of spring snow and a few inches of powder and piled up crud, this is your ski. I have not had it real bumps so I can't attest but my hunch is that it may not be best bump ski but in hands of a skilled skier, it won't be an issue especially on soft western bumps.
One note regarding the mounting point. I had mine mounted at the suggested point but I wonder if moving it forward to +1 if this would make it just a bit quicker given it's 20 m plus radius. I need more time to sort out but if you are skiing this on open long groomers, its not an issue.