Competition kicked off a day early in Sochi, with qualification for the Men's and Ladies' Slopestyle events already taking place at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
A new event in 2014, Slopestyle is a long-standing X Games staple which includes a series of jump and three early opportunities to grind rails on the slope.
Team USA might have lost its best chance at a Mens' Slopestyle medal with the withdrawal of Shaun White, but all three of the nation's representatives will move on after qualifying. Charles Guldemond narrowly missed out on advancing directly to the final in a softer Heat 1 by posting a best-run score of 86.00, which fell short of advancing by 0.75 points.
The second heat saw higher scores across the board. Neither Sage Kotsenburg nor Ryan Stassel advanced directly to the finals with scores of 86.5 and 81.00, respectively. They competed in a heat that boasted medal-favorite Maxence Parrot, who finished with an event-high 97.50 in his second run.
Parrot was highly critical of White's decision to miss the Slopestyle event, taking to Twitter to call the veteran "scared," saying "Shaun knows he wont be able to win the slopes."
It was a long layoff for fans in the Ladies' Slopestyle, with all four women from Team USA competing in the second heat. Jamie Anderson has the best chance of a medal and she didn't disappoint, posting a 93.50 in her first run, sitting on that score and taking it to the final.
Karly Shorr had a disappointing opening run, but bounced back on her second to finish with a 84.75, nabbing fourth place in the second heat and gaining an automatic bid to the finals.
16-year-old Ty Walker elected to pass on competition and save her energy for the semifinals. She passed obstacles on her first run and elected not to take her second. Walker will be joined in the semifinals by Jessika Jenson.
Anderson's biggest threat in the finals is Anna Gasser of Austria. She put down two impressive runs, the second of which unseated Anderson atop the standings with a 95.50.
Competition in Slopestyle will continue on Sunday, Feb. 9 with the semifinal and final rounds in both men's and ladies' competition.