King County sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart told KING-TV on Thursday that searchers believe she took off her skis and backpack and walked onto an overhanging edge of snow to get a better view, only to have it break away. He says the operation is now a recovery mission.
The search was suspended Thursday because of avalanche risk in the Cascade Mountains.
KING reports that the 41-year-old woman went skiing alone Tuesday. Her skis and backpack have been found. Her car was left in a ski parking area near Interstate 90.
Urquhart says the recovery effort is unlikely to resume before the weekend.