I can't speak for the Heads but I skied on some '08 888s last season. They are very good in heavy crud, they don't deflect and move through it very smoothly. In icy conditions they have a good hold. They are wide enough to give decent float and good control in Cascade Concrete. They carve well and love to go fast on groomers with amazing hold and smoothness, though they still respond fine when going at slower speeds; not like my 666s who only like high speeds. They don't turn as quickly as my Fischer Atuas (think Pocket Rocket quick without the squirlliness) which are my #1 ski. However, last season we had pretty poor conditions and I used the Elans at least half of the time because they are superior in hard, and groomed conditions. The 888s are a great ski and could make a good one ski quiver in coastal conditions.