Bulletin staff report

SNOWMASS, Colo. — Bend’s Ben Ferguson finished second in qualifying Thursday and advanced to Saturday’s finals of the men’s halfpipe event at the U.S. Grand Prix.

The event, which includes international riders, is the third of four Olympic-team qualifiers for U.S. halfpipe snowboarders.

Ferguson entered this week’s Grand Prix as the leader in Olympic qualifying. According to www.nbcolympics.com, if he finishes in the top two among U.S. riders on Saturday, he will confirm his nomination to the Olympic team.

Each competitor on Thursday took two runs, and the best score counted toward qualification for Saturday’s finals.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White finished with the top score, a 95, and Ferguson was second with a 93.50.

Two other Bend snowboarders competed Thursday but failed to make the finals: Kent Callister, competing for Australia, finished 19th with a score of 59.25. Gabe Ferguson, Ben’s younger brother, was 23rd with a 51.25.

Callister is vying to make his second Olympics with the Aussies.

The 2018 Winter Games are set for Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

—Bulletin staff report