Jamie Anderson impressed in qualification in New Zealand ©Winter Games NZ

Defending overall women's champion Jamie Anderson began the International Ski Federation Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup season with the best qualification run in New Zealand today.

The 26-year-old American, also the reigning Olympic gold medallist, scored 95.50 points to win her heat at the Cardrona Alpine Resort.

Anderson, who won the event in New Zealand - part of the Audi Quattro Winter Games - in 2013 and 2015, impressed with her "flow and technical merit".

She will now be the favourite to top the pile when the final is held tomorrow.

Another American, Hailey Langland, could challenge her compatriot, however, after recording the second best score of 92.00 to win her heat.

The 17-year-old impressed the judges with her technical rail section on a good day for the teenager.

Two Japanese snowboarders also qualified strongly for the ten-woman final, finishing third and fourth in the qualifiers. 

Reira Iwabuchi scored 91.50 while Miyabi Onitsuka tallied 88.50.

Darcy Sharpe performed well in Cardrona ©Getty Images
Darcy Sharpe performed well in Cardrona ©Getty Images

In the men's event, qualification was headed by Canadian Darcy Sharpe.

He won his heat with a score of 93.00 as defending Winter Games champion Chris Corning of the US achieved the second best total of 90.75.

Both men won their heats with the final also tomorrow.

"It was super sugary out there, and it was good just being able to put a run down," said Corning. 

"It wasn't exactly what I wanted but it was good enough to get a score of a 90.00."

Carlos Garcia Knight provided home joy for New Zealand as his total of 88.50 was joint third-best alongside Canada's Sebastien Toutant.

Belgium's world champion Seppe Smits also made the 16-man final, with a score of 78.50 proving enough.