Nicholls, the penultimate rider in the first of two qualification heats, secured his place with a second run of 86.75 that pushed him up to fourth overall.
The top-four bypass the semi-finals on Saturday and head straight to the final on the same day with Nicholls overwhelmed by his efforts in Russia.
“I feel amazing. I can’t explain it. I came here and all I wanted to do was land a run and landing a run and getting to the finals is a dream come true,” he said.
“I am just going to go up there again in the final and try my best. I am just happy to have made it.
"I went for it. The standard is crazy. To be able to go up there and do a run that I have never done in my life shows the standard is pretty high."
Meanwhile, fellow Brit Billy Morgan also impressed on the way to sixth place, scoring 85.50 on his second run just 1.25 points shy of Nicholls.
Given bib No.1, the 24-year-old was the first athlete to compete at the Games and must now tackle the semi-finals at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
But he’s sees that as no bad thing.
"It was pretty cool, I didn’t realise until one of the other athletes told me at the top. It was pretty cool. I didn’t think about it until the last minute. I had fun and it was really good,” he said.
“The course is fine. There are always changes to be made but they sorted that out. The jumps are good and fast and fun. I was happy. I messed my first run up a bit but my second run was solid. I could clean it up a bit.”
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