Yes, building a real snow cave can be very time-consuming. Tenting is quicker, but it isn't as warm for sleeping, and it is obviously more weight to carry.
There is a compromise that we established 15-20 years ago. We call it the Sierra Nevada snow shelter. It seems to be quick enough, yet low-weight. This requires one large flat tarp, typically of a size 8x10 or 10x12 feet.
Let's say that you have a team of four cross country skiers. You've skied all day, and it is time to camp in six feet of snow. Step 1. With skis on, tamp down the selected shelter area. Step 2. Stretch the flat tarp out on the surface and mark the outline of the tarp edge on the surface. Remove the tarp. Step 3. Using shovels, you start excavating snow blocks from the inside of the marked outline. You want to excavate blocks two layers deep. You are creating a hole within the rectangular outline. If you have two or three skiers with good shovels, then this can go quickly. They hand the blocks to the stacker. The stacker stacks the blocks around the outside of the marked outline, slightly overlapping the blocks. You should be able to go three blocks high, and the hole is two blocks deep. That makes a total space five blocks high, and that will be about four feet high. Step 4. The skiers extend and connect their poles together to build a framework of sorts that fits over the top of the snow block wall. Then the flat tarp is stretched over it and fastened down on the wall. Step 5. One corner of the wall is knocked out to make an entrance. The best corner is not the windward corner. It is necessary to step down into the entrance.
Typically, we have space for about four sleeping bags inside. We set up a single stove in the entrance and do all cooking there. If it shows during the night, that will accumulate on the tarp. If it starts to load up too much, just kick it and most of it will slide off.
Step 6. In the morning, you clear out of the shelter, remove the tarp, and remove the poles. Leave the walls of the shelter as a monument.