ROSA KHUTOR, Russia — The inaugural slopestyle snowboarding qualification kicked off the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi on Thursday.
Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe and Karly Shorr of Truckee topped the competition for the U.S. women, advancing straight to the finals after finishing second and fourth in their heat.
The U.S. men, including Truckee’s Chas Guldemond and Ryan Stassel, finished outside of the top four in their heats, setting them up for a cutthroat semifinal round where only the top four will advance to the 12-person final.
The men’s semifinal and final are set for Saturday, Feb. 8, with the women’s competitions scheduled for Sunday Feb. 9.
“I can’t wait for finals,” said Shorr, a native of Milford, Mich., who now lives in Truckee. “I hope that these stands are full. I can’t wait to soak it all in. It’s such a good energy out there. Everyone is just trying to push women’s snowboarding as much as they can, and so many girls came out here and killed it. In the first heat, every single girl was throwing down their best tricks. A lot of times girls will play it safe, but not here, no one is doing that and it’s so cool to see.
American Jessika Jenson also finished outside the top four, sending her to the women’s semifinal, while Team USA rider Ty Walker is being treated for a heel contusion suffered on a flat landing off a rail in Tuesday’s training session. Team officials anticipate she will compete Sunday.
Shaun White withdrew from the slopestyle competition Wednesday in order to focus on the halfpipe, citing injury concerns on a slopestyle course that has received criticism from many of the athletes.
Guldemond, however, has defended the course since the start.
“Everything that we’ve done here is completely normal,” he said. “It’s the second best course of the year compared to X Games, so I’m happy with it. Yeah, they did a good job.”