What EB said. I've not been up this year and typically stay away from the typical SS conga line, but from what I can tell, the gates are basically the same as they've been over the last few years.
There's no dropping in from the rigde, the gates are just too narrow. Also, Ice, ice baby, steps and the like.
You can drop into the "normal descent route" and forgo the hoof as long as the "Bay Area" traffic is reasonably clear. Of course, "reasonably" is different for everyone. Don't be suprised to "hear" about it on the way down.
If the summit is not all too important, hit the North side, pitch a spike camp and spend a day above and around snowdome, maybe even climb "Sunshine."
Also, with partners and a couple vehicles, you can climb Wy'East from TLL which gives you many skiable options from skiing the WE face, dropping into Meadows and an awating car, WRC or the "normal" SS descent.