Even snowboarding great Shaun White gets butterflies at the Olympics but not while attempting his dangerous new trick.

The American nailed his first qualifying run in the men's halfpipe with 45.8 points on Wednesday, the highest score of his heat, but caught a rut on his second and got low marks in what he described as a throwaway run.

The qualifiers are a strange limbo, White told reporters. We practice for finals every single day. Qualifying's tough -- you do just enough to set you in but you don't show everything, said White, a bandanna tied around his long mane of red hair.

In the halfpipe competition, 40 men compete for 12 spots in the final. The qualifying round consists of two runs, and the best of the two will determine who moves on.

The top three finishers in each heat move on to the final without having to take part in the semi-final round.

White, who has helped revolutionize the sport by unveiling more dangerous and technically challenging moves, held back in the qualifiers and did not attempt the dangerous new move that gave him a near perfect score in two recent competitions.

But he was still clearly the best of his class, making difficult triple twisting jumps look easy as he soared far above the 22-foot halfpipe on Cypress Mountain.

White has said he will attempt his new move in the final -- the Double McTwist 1260, which is a double backward flip with three and a half revolutions ending in a blind landing.