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Blizzard Brahma vs Elan 888
You feel the Brahma skis short, because it does, at least on firm snow. The running length is about the same (identical, actually) as the Magnum 8.5ti in 174cm. The extra length is all in the tip and tail (the tip is around 4cm longer, the tail 2cm), which is not in contact with the snow on firm surfaces. As it has more rise in the tip and tail rise (early rise) than the 8.5ti, even considering the functional contact surface, it skis more like a 165-170 on firm snow. The 888 is going to be more stable at the same speed on hard snow. Once you are in soft snow, things are more comparable.
If you are looking at the 888, then the Mag 8.5ti is more comparable. It has a much lower rocker tip and tail, more power, more responsive to early tipping motions on firm snow: feels more like an 888 than the Brahma, which is a completely different feel (looser, lighter, easier to pivot, but not the carver that the 8.5ti is). The Brahma is built more on a soft snow platform, those who want a looser feel, or for those who don't want a more responsive tip. the 8.5ti, while not as powerful as some skis at the tip, is still pretty responsive and has a pretty aggressive turn entry when tipping and getting edge angle, while being versatile in softer snow and bumps, due to the early rise.
Not a bad assumption: the 888 is very forgiving for the level of performance. The tail is stiffer and more powerful on the 8.5ti.
It is a bit less forgiving, and has more energy too; you can really time a powerful release on it, and to a lesser extent, the Brahma. The 888 is more forgiving than the Brahma and 8.5ti, just a bit mellower ski. Metal-laminate Blizzards are always pretty strong, at least since I have been skiing them (back in the Titan days).