Anderson qualifies 2nd in slopestyle

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia ( - American snowboarder Jamie Anderson had the second-best qualifying score on Thursday in the women's Olympic slopestyle competition and moved directly into the final.

Austria's Anna Gasser, riding in the same heat as Anderson, posted a top score of 95.50 points. Anderson was second with a 93.50 on her only run of the day.

The event, making its Olympic debut, features riders doing tricks over rails and jumps down a snow-covered trail.

Men's and women's qualification heats were both run Thursday, a day ahead of the opening ceremony for the Sochi Olympics. American star Shaun White pulled out of the men's competition on Wednesday.

American Karly Shorr also qualified for the final, as did reigning Olympic halfpipe champion Torah Bright of Australia, Spencer O'Brien of Canada, Isabel Derungs and Elena Koenz of Switzerland and Finland's Enni Rukajarvi.

Every other athlete who competed Thursday will have a chance to make the final through the semifinals, including Americans Jessika Jenson and Ty Walker and Canadian Jenna Blasman. Walker made only one run Thursday without going over the rails or jumps.

Anderson won back-to-back gold medals at the Winter X Games in 2012-13 but finished second last month to Norway's Silje Norendal.