Visualization is one of the most important psychological skills++ of a ski racer. The racer is imagining a good performance, from either an internal or external perspective.
Visualization can be used to prepare for a race (i.e. visualize the course at the start) or to help with training and learning skills (visualize skills or technical/tactical elements before attempting them - which helps improve the actual performance).
Some of the studies that show the value of visualization, include comparing a group that did basketball throws and another that just visualized good throws and they both showed improvement.
During course inspection++, athletes visualize the right line and all its tactical elements and then practice that mentally.
Here is a really cool video about course inspection, you can see the athletes calculate and visualize line and other tactical elements as they need to apply them in that course:
Visualization is really important at the start gate - athletes go through the course in their minds several times:
Seasoned athletes use vivid, highly detailed internal images and run-throughs of the entire performance, engaging all their senses in their mental rehearsal, and they combine their knowledge of the sports venue with mental rehearsal.1
Related concepts: Engraving, Ideokinesis, see Ski Engraving.