(AP) Canadian Max Parrot cruised through men's slopestyle qualifying on Thursday, posting a score of 97.50 to stamp himself as a gold medal favorite as the sport makes its Olympic debut.
Parrot, Roope Tonteri of Finland and Norway's Staale Sandbech led a group of eight riders who advanced directly to Saturday's finals.
The remaining 21 competitors will return to the challenging course for Saturday morning's semifinals trying to claim one of the last four spots in the finals.
The competition went off without any major issues or injuries. Several riders raised concerns about the course's safety during training, including American Shaun White.
White pulled out of the event on Wednesday worried about endangering his chance of winning a third straight gold medal in halfpipe.