No you do not have to drain the fuel. Just watch the gas cap as they sometimes leak when tipped up. Just set a drain pan under it and you will be fine.
And no it should only take you about ten minutes to be up and running at normal speed.
Heavy duty snowblower would be a good ariens, snapper, or simplicity in order of price.
Please do not forget to hit accept or I will not get paid. Glad to hear you got your snowblower working