After navigating Torino and its 2,136 traffic circles, the signs for “Susa eventually came through on their promise. Crowds lined the streets of Bardonecchia as we drove into town two hours later. Honestly, I didn’t know TransWorld was so big in Italy. It ends up we had timed our arrival with that of the Olympic torch, which could be a really cool thing to see if it hadn’t become a sponsorship parade of Tour de France proportions.

We parked outside the Olympic Village and then bumped into Andy Finch and some of the other riders from the U.S. and Canada, all the while imagining this awesome moment when an athlete of yesteryear would run up the street, Olympic torch triumphantly streaking through the Piedmont night sky. Nope.

It was more like the entire town had ordered pizza to be delivered at the same time. The guy with the torch was actually sandwiched between two Coca Cola trucks that carried the other runners—they trade off about every tenth of a mile.

Still, we were in the mood. There’s something about standing in the candle-lit streets of an Italian mountain town that makes it seem like your life hasn’t been totally wasted—especially when you’re shoulder to shoulder with shreds from around the world. We tried to get Canadian rider Dominique Vallee to pose for some shots that night, but the stinkin’ torch parade kept blowing our setups. I’ll get her to do something with us later in the week.

So Monday was basically a day of figuring things out. You know, the Olympics aren’t as glamorous an assignment as you may think. And Italy, well it’s good for a couple of things, like getting run over or going home with lung cancer.

The pipe is taking shape. It’ll be ready for tomorrow’s practice sessions. The Snowboardcross course is still in the early stages, lumps of snow and the vague shape of some berms. I can’t claim jet lag, because I’ve been in Europe for week already (I flew down here from Munich), but I can still be tired. Let’s catch up again tomorrow.