Snowmobiles can sled on Saturday, April 27!!! DO NOT GO BEFORE THAT OR THEY MAY JUST SHUT IT DOWN!!!I remember calling customer service at the ski area (206-812-4510) a few years ago and was told that even though the backside of the mountain had been closed for a couple of weeks, snowmobiling was not allowed until the day after they close to the public. This year, their last day of operations (open to the public) is Sunday, April 21st.
Based on what I was told in the past, this would mean that Monday, April 22 and later would be open for snowmobiling on the backside of the mountain. Don't take my word for it though, please call and verify if you plan to go up within the next week, as things could have possibly changed due to the new ownership, policy, etc.
And to anyone who has not been up there before, please understand that it is only the BACK side of the mountain (accessed from the Nordic Center parking lot) that is open to snowmobiling, NOT the front side that you see when going over Stevens Pass on Hwy. 2. There is usually a sign with a map posted near the trail from the Nordic Center parking lot that shows where you can and cannot (should not) ride. Please stop and look at this, maybe even take a picture for reference later when you are on the mountain.
The ridgeline is the county boundary and is the limit of where you can (legally) ride. Dropping down the front (towards the lodges and highway) puts you into King County, which has a different set of rules regarding snowmobiling and should be considered off-limits. There are usually Forest Service and King County Sheriff personnel patrolling or staking out some of the boundary areas, and people have been ticketed for violations.
The other restriction on riding this area is that there is a Wilderness boundary nearby, and it is not always clear to people where the actual boundary is. There are a few signs posted on trees at the edge, but they are in places where the Pacific Crest Trail runs and it would be easy to ride past the boundary without seeing a sign.
This is why it's important to pay attention to the map at the beginning of the trail, and be sure of where you are in relation to the boundary. As you can imagine, Forest Service and Sheriff personnel are also on the lookout for people violating this boundary. I've talked with some of these people while up there, and they have all been very friendly and understanding of our presence, and deserve mutual respect.
These restrictions make an already small area even smaller, and I personally feel it is important for each of us to do our part to make sure no one 'ruins it' for all the others. This means, stop leaving your beer bottles (or cans, wine boxes, liquor bottles-whatever) all over the mountain. It's already littered enough with all the Fireball bottles thrown from chairlifts throughout the ski season.
Stop poaching the boundaries!
Sure, we've probably all looked at Cowboy mountain and wondered how close to the top we could get, or dreamed of launching out of the bowl below the top of Skyline chair (I've seen people do both, from a distance), but really...do you think anyone will really believe those tracks were made by the utility sleds of the ski area?
And to the orange Polaris and black Ski-Doo 1200 turbo that poached deep into the wilderness from the ski area in early May 2014, your sled tracks were visible on the ridge and across the lakes back there into early July. Certainly long enough for some Kale-loving Sierra club hipsters to have noticed them and reported a 'violation' to whoever would listen. THEY don't know it was YOU, so they blame all of US.
Anyway, that's my two cents, take it for whatever it's worth and don't forget to have fun.