As always, thanks everyone for the fast and thought out responses. I hit the slopes yesterday on a surgical demo strike. I ended up demoing the Blizzard 8.1 (179cm), Volkl Kendo (177cm), and Blizzard 8.7 (174cm). I was skiing with some family so I tried to do loops on runs relatively close to the demo area, using Siberia moguls and groomers as one of the primary testing grounds, as well as some icy spots and crusty/frozen crud spots I found on Gold Coast.
I was extremely impressed with the Blizzard 8.1, which seemed to hold its edge at almost any speed on just about anything other than sheer ice. I had a blast ripping turns and feeling confident that I wasn't going to slip. I took this ski into Sun Bowl (oops, not enough sun or temperature for that one) and found it wasn't the best ski for those frozen crud moguls, but was acceptable.
I knew the Kendo wasn't for me within about one turn where the edge immediately slipped out on some hard snow. I don't know if it needed a tune, but this ski seemed to have no better edge hold than my Prophet 100s. Overall, after a few runs, I just didn't like this ski at all (and I thought to myself, "Thank god for demoing and for Epicski recommending I try Blizzard!").
The conditions were worsening throughout the day so I actually took the 8.1s out again to make sure the slipping I was experience was in fact the Kendo and not the conditions just getting icier. It was the ski.
I tried the Blizzard 8.7 next in a 174cm length (the 181cm was out all day). This ski had pretty good edge hold, though not as good as the 8.1. I liked this ski pretty well, but it didn't feel nearly as "at home" as the 8.1. This may have been in part because of the length, as I'm accustomed to a longer ski (my Prophets being 186cm). I was also able to find a speed limit (though it's possible this was due to even poorer conditions and tired legs). I thought this ski was supposed to be a lot damper than the 8.1 on the frozen crud, but when I tested it I found the vibrations just as uncomfortable as any ski.
In the end, I liked the 8.1 and had the most fun on it (and wanted to keep taking it out) so I bought it. The price was right, too, as it was a few hundred bucks cheaper than the 8.7. When I think about my quiver as a whole, I already have the Prophet 100s which are a super versatile ski, so I realized that what I was really looking for here was something that could perform well in hard conditions. If there was any soft snow, I would be on my Prophets, so any ski with those tendencies would have wasted abilities. So while I think the 8.1 by itself is a less versatile ski, it makes my overall quiver more versatile. And for just a bit more than half of what I paid for my Prophets, it was a pretty easy decision.