The new shovels cost about $50 each, and the city is paying for them with its emergency funds.
The Yukon ergo sleigh shovels, with a 26-inch scoop, have a huge advantage over regular shovels. "Trying to lift snow all day with those is pretty backbreaking," Joyce said.
"We have the National Guard right now using the standard shovel, and they're getting pretty trashed everyday — not the shovels but the Guardsmen themselves," he said.
The warmer temperatures — about 35 degrees midday Wednesday — brought another hazard to the Prince William Sound community of 2,200 people: avalanche danger.
There's one road leading out, and it was closed though it could be opened for emergency vehicles.
The city also is warning people not to stand under the eaves of their houses to clear snow off the roof for fear the snow will come down on them.
"There's a real high potential that if it does slide, they'd be buried," he said.
So far, four commercial buildings and two homes have been damaged from snow accumulation on roofs. A 24-unit apartment complex also had to be evacuated.
The current storm system is expected to be gone by Friday, but then comes another downside: colder temperatures.
Meteorologists say high temperatures this weekend should top out from 0 to 5 degrees, with lows about 10 below.
If there's one fan of the snow in Valdez, it's 12-year-old Trevor, Kathryn Hawkins' son. More than 26-feet of snow means he can slide off the roof into the yard.
"When it first started snowing, he said, "More, more, more snow,' and I'm like, 'Will you stop it? We've had enough.' And that was before all this came. He said, 'I want to slide off the roof again,'" she said.
"And now he can, to his heart's content," she said.