Perrine Laffont sits in first place after the initial run in the women's moguls at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The France national posted a score of 79.72 to lead all competitors, giving her prime placement for the finals Sunday. Canada's Andi Naude and American Morgan Schild are among the 10 finishers to advance directly to the finals with strong showings Thursday night.
The other 20 athletes will have another chance to compete for a medal, but they will need to bounce back with a top-10 showing in the second qualifier prior to the finals.
Results from Qualification 1
1. Perrine Laffont (FRA) - 79.72
2. Andi Naude (CAN) - 79.60
3. Morgan Schild (USA) - 77.74
4. Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) - 77.66
5. Jaelin Kauf (USA) - 77.45
6. Britteny Cox (AUS) - 76.78
7. Yulia Galysheva (KAZ) - 76.36
8. Keaton McCargo (USA) - 75.67
9. Arisa Murata (JPN) - 74.13
10. Audrey Robichaud (CAN) - 72.48
Full results available at Olympic.org.
Laffont was easily the best on the first day of action, flying down the course while earning points in a variety of ways. Her 50.5 points on turns were the most of any competitor and went a long way toward earning her 79.72 score.
The French star struggled four years ago at this event but finished second at world championships last year, and she is clearly a top contender to bring home the gold this time around.
Meanwhile, Naude was a bit of a surprise in second place, although her airtime made a big impact on her high score.
It was more of a quiet start for Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, the Canadian sisters who earned the gold and silver respectively at the 2014 Olympics.
Justine, who also won the gold medal at the 2015 world championships, posted a 77.66 in her first run, which was good enough for fourth place, although she will need to perform better going forward to once again end up on top of the podium.
Her sister Chloe struggled, however, finishing outside the top 10 with a score of 69.53.
American Jaelin Kauf is the odds-on favorite in this event, according to OddsShark, and remains in good shape after a fifth-place finish in the first run. Although she posted a great time of 28.91 seconds, her overall score needs improvement in order to live up to expectations.
Instead, it was Schild who finished with the best score of the four Americans in the field with a 77.74. Keaton McCargo also qualified for the finals while Tess Johnson will have to earn her spot in the finals in the second qualification.
Defending world champion Britteny Cox could also be a tough one to beat after finishing in sixth place in the first qualification.
Those who did not qualify for one of the top 10 spots will have to earn a spot in the finals in the second qualifier early Sunday. The 20 finalists will then battle across three runs Sunday to decide the final results for the medal stand.