We have both a snow Claw and a traditional shovel. Usually my husband and I take both, one on each person....and in snow travel that should be the rule. A shovel can save a life and it doesn't do you any good to have it on the person who just disappeared.
I pretty much blundered into snowshoeing years ago without a clue of what I was doing. Since then I have taken winter classes and attempted to learn more skills. Honestly I would say if you like snowshoeing learn as much as you can with snow travel. Ice ax skills, how to read avalanche predictions, where your options are for safe travel in high avy times, how to use a shovel.
I was out on the first trip for this season yesterday and was quite aware that SAR was doing a body recovery at Rainier about 1 mile away as the crow flies. I listened to them setting off avy charges in the afternoon. My usual snowshoeing partner is the winter instructor for the Kitsap Mtneers branch here in Wa. While we may disagree on skills in the summer, I do listen to him in winter. Part of yesterdays outing was working on using avy beacons. I quite understand them now, and am planning on buying them for my husband, son and I this week. They are not cheap by any means, but I love them that much. I see the point of wearing one quite clearly. This season the death toll is 6 so far in avy's here. Not a good year. And the sad thing is? 5 of them were before winter even started!