After seeing Johnathan White's post on testing some gear near Wahtum Lake-
it hit me like a ton of bricks. Why not use the Gatewood Cape. It's made of the same fabric as the Alphamid, unlike the Alphamid it has a top vent. It weighs 8 oz less than the Alphamid. Doesn't require a separate extendable pole, or a trekking pole coupler. It has a lower profile for better wind resistance (in Will Rietveld's review he stated the Gatewood Cape held up to 30 mph winds, answers part of my first post). Perfect size for one person backpacking trip in winter with mild weater. More guyout points for better panel tension. Will work for two people as a day shelter provided you dig out the snow for your legs, which I would do anyways (it's more comfortable sitting that way).
Yes, there are a few down sides. Shorter peak height, smaller foot print, less room overall.
But, at half the price and almost half the weight, I think I can give the Gatewood Cape a try. This whole concept has got me giddy to get up to the mountain to try this shelter out.