I agree. I wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to get over to ski in the Loveland Valley area, actually. It sounds like some of the group was over there, and I've seen bunches of tracks there since they've been closed, not sure exactly what routes people were taking to go up, but I think you can access it from higher off the road rather than having to skin all the way up. THIS IS TOTAL CONJECTURE, btw.
To the best of my memory, the switch back dumps you off at the top of the resort, the creek is just a short traverse over, the snow field is up above that area. You can enter at the switch back and hike up to ski the snow field, or just traverse to sheep creek. Or you can park at the top of the pass and hike along the ridge line and dump in at the top of the snow field,
That being said, I wouldn't ski over there just to get into the ski area,,,,, it's pretty lame area, but the snow field and the run in the creek is fun. Sheep creek is narrow and like a luge run in spots and back in the 90's had a fallen tree across it, which made for some big air off the left side of the creek bed/tree. Fun, yes, worth going through the trouble of leaving a car at the bottom and then driving up, with so many other tasty areas around to ski, not really.