OK, some caveats about the Snowclaw.
The original Snowclaw is not a bad tool to carry in your pack, but it is one of those "better than nothing" type of tools. When we were testing it, we were doing so on Northern Rocky Mountain mid-winter avalanche debris. Think about the kind of debris that forms from snow that falls in response to low temperature gradients: homogenous, dry, low-density.
The original SnowClaw is not a suitable tool for avalanches where the snow is highly consolidated, aged, icy, etc.
The new version of the SnowClaw, sold here, is stiffer than the old and has a far better digging shape. I've tested it in consolidated avalanche debris and it works better than the original. It's still not my first choice of an avy shovel for rescue scenarios. Nor is the aluminum, which digs great. I just prefer a handle for leveraging / prying blocks when needed, and this is useful in a real debris pile.
Does that mean the SnowClaw is worthless in a rescue scenario? Not at all. A few people with shovels dealing with the hard stuff and a few people moving soft stuff with a SnowClaw can do an incredible job of digging a massive volume of snow fast. The SnowClaw does move a lot of snow really fast.
I generally take a SnowClaw for touring in low-risk avy terrain, backcountry camping/snowcaving in the winter and spring. I take a handled shovel when the focus is on skiing steep terrain or touring over passes with partners.
For SAR missions (I'm on the Gallatin County SAR Hasty team), I carry a handled shovel.
The handled shovel I have is a Backcountry Access Tour, the shorty. I've cut off the webbing on the cliplock and drilled enough holes in the blade to reduce weight but not sacrifice blade strength (it took a sacrificial shovel to get it right :). The weight of my shovel is 16.3 oz.
The Mountain Mod carbon shovels are pretty neat. A long handled shovel for a pound - that's pretty good. I've used one a couple times, it did feel heavier than a pound to me (holding it and my BCA shovel side by side), but didn't weigh it. It moves soft snow fine but the carbon blade is probably not going to pry our rock solid blocks without breaking. I started to do this and the owner of the shovel begged me not to take it to its failure point. The blade edge was bending pretty good, and the same amount of force didn't bend my BCA blade.
Conservative recommendation: I think the plastic SnowClaws are appropriate for backcountry camping/touring where (1) avy risk is low, (2) you're not in the Cascades ;), and (3) the primary shovel use is for shelters.
I'm comfortable taking the newer composite SnowClaws (the ones we sell) for skiing the steeps, because I've played with them a lot in avy debris. However, my partners generally don't have that experience, and aren't as comfortable, so it gives them piece of mind for me to carry an aluminum shovel. I'm ok with that. We have a standing role in our ski group of friends that if any of us is uncomfortable with the shovel or probe someone else brings, they can trade it for the ones they brought. After all, you are bringing these safety items for the others in your party, not for you.