Running Icebears for the 2nd winter this year on 18x8.5 fronts and 18x9.5 fronts. I've run Pirelli Snowsports and Blizzak LM25s in past winters here in Mass. I have to say my all time favorite snow tires were the Pirelli 210/240 snowsports. Had INCREDIBLE snow grip with 90% of my summer tires grip in the dry. Blizzaks had very good snow grip, and dry cold grip wasn't too bad either.
I feel that the Hankook Icebears offer very good dry grip in the cold, but their grip in the snow is not quite as good as the other two. By NO means would I steer someone away from them, especially for the price. Lets face it...we should be driving carefully in snow anyhow, and they're light years better than an all season tire. I also chose them for the price, but this is due to 2 reasons- I don't do much driving in the snow, and we don't get many blizzards here in MA. If I lived in upstate NY or Maine, I would be running the Pirelli Snowsports for sure. I was lucky to be on these in '04 and '05 when we had 2-3 feet of snow, and I was the only care on the road. SUVs were spinning out and I never lost grip...amazing tire for our E46s, especially considering I was runnning a wide, staggered size!