My wife's Xmas present to me is that I can buy any 4 mountain bike tires I want, no matter what the cost.
I ride a ti hardtail, and I weigh 180 lbs.
My (almost daily) ~ 30 km ride to and from work is very mixed:
I ride 10 blocks on the asphalt/tarmac, then I ride hardpack and gravel. Then I ride one km of ups and downs, with babyhead rocks. There's a couple of steep 10-14 degree hills. Then 6 blocks of asphalt/tarmac, and then a steep 1600 foot climb on medium hardpack with with a bit of sand and some gravel. It's non-technical. There are very few turns, so it's a lot of point-and-shoot cardio.
As I'm in Vancouver, there's often some moisture, but luckily very few roots. I guess I really would like the proverbial all-purpose tire, IF it exists...
My LBS has recommended Nevegals for the winter, 2.3 up front and 2.1 rear. (I suspect these will have too much rolling resistance. At the other end of the spectrum, this fall I rode Specialized Fast Traks and they were light and fast, but had too little traction/grip.)
I'm thinking about Schwalbe's 2010 Nobby Nics with snakeskin. I know lots of people ride the Nics up front with a Racing Ralph in the back, but I think the Ralphs' knobs are too low, though I could be wrong.
Nobby Nics? Racing Ralphs? Continental Vertical Pro with black chilli? Someone else recommended the Maxxis Larsen TT tire, but it seemed somewhat like the Kenda Small Block 8, which I SUSPECT isn't quite grippy enough.
Considerations and advice please!