After a 6-year hiatus, the AK Extreme is once again set to rock the Icelandic shred scene with its patented brand of lo-fi fun and raging parties. With the whole of Icelandic snowboarding - including bigwigs Halldor & Eiki Helgason and Gulli Gudmundsson - pumped on its return, we caught up with event organiser and general 'doer of stuff', Mr Geiri Hoskuldsson to get a heads up on the AKX...
Onboard: Maybe we should start by you giving us a little background to the AK Extreme. When did the first one go down and what was the thinking behind it?
Geiri: AKX was first held in 2003, a couple of friends working together decided it was about bloody time Iceland had proper snowboard festival. It kind off snowballed out of control from there and before they realised they were building a massive Big Air out of containers and wood in downtown Akureyri. It was held again in 2004 and 2005 and grew larger and larger every year. Everybody turned out for it. [It was] a good excuse to get all the scene together and throw a party
OB: Everybody who is anybody in Icelandic snowboarding? Or were there riders from further afield?
Geiri: I think everybody that physically owned a snowboard in Iceland at that time turned out for it and some even brought friends. No international superstars, Eiki, Gulli and Halldór were coming through the ranks at the time. Eiki is so to speak the current AKX title holder. He took the title with a double frontflip of the container jump in 2005.
OB: And what was the format. Was it just the, erm, rickety big air made of containers and driftwood? Or was that just the downtown part?
Geiri: The first three events both had events up the mountain and downtown along with mad parties. It was just snowboarders doing stuff for snowboarders while having some beers and seeing who could be the most mental. There was even a freeride event one year were we hiked to the top of the mountain and dropped some lines and then decided on a freeride winner. It was all just an excuse to have good time sidewways.
OB: As you said, everyone with a snowboard in iceland turned out for it, and it certainly sounds like it was a bucketfull of awesome... so why has it been on hiatus for the last 6 years or so?
Geiri: Well a good friend of ours and snowboarder past away in 2006 and the momentum and spirit just got pulled from under of us. It was also a massive amount of work for a selective few. So for a few years we put AKX behind us then the idea started surfacing again to redo it but nobody really had the time or longing to take it on until now.
OB: So what was it that made you guys decide it was time to wake the bad boy from its slumber and unleash the AKX again?
Geiri: There have been many boistrous beer discussions about redoing over the last 3-4 years but this year me and Siggi (one of the original AKX crew) decided to partner up with two guys who are behind the Airwaves festival, bring back AKX for the long run and make it into a snowboard/music festival tour de force hurricane that we could not stop ourselves from doing even if we wanted to. I also think enough time has past so we had all forgotten how much work it is.
OB: Haha, hell yeah! So what do you have on the cards for the 2011 edition? What's the format going to be?
Geiri: The joys of snowboarding mixed in with good music and endless parties. We have a non stop schedule from Thursday to Friday. 7-10 April.
OB: Are you inviting Charlie Sheen?
Geiri: We said there would be a mountain of coke and there was some confusion into what sort of coke so he decided in the end to stay at home, so Halldór will be replacing Charlie this year.
OB: ...with his mountain of Monster.
Geiri: The music lineup is preeeetttyy good. We have some of the best DJs and up-and-coming bands playing over the course of the weekend. You should check out Agent Fresco for example.
OB: Banger. But in terms of the snowboarding, what's the deal? Is there just a downtown big air, or rail session, or is there stuff planned for the mountain too?
Geiri: We are going to setup a slopestyle course up the mountain open to all on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday night we are doing a rail session on the infamous parking lot rail up the mountain (you have seen this rail in every movie the Helgasons have been in). So we are having a parking lot party and rail session on Friday night. On Saturday night it is the container bigjump downtown/event finale.
OB: Is it going to look as, erm - what's a positive word for 'sketchy' - EXTREME, with the kicker built out of wood and boxes?
Geiri: I think what people like about this event is the old school sketchy snowboard vibe. We dont want to pretend to be anything else.
OB: And what riders are you expecting to come and throw down to risk life and limb on the booty shaker?
Geiri: Eiki, Gulli and Halldór are the guys you know along with local Icelandic unknowns to the world legends and up and coming groms from Akureyri.
OB: How important is it for shredding in Iceland to have such an event on home turf?
Geiri: We think it is pretty important to do something for the sake of doing something and we think that AKX is a pretty great something. There is a new generation of groms here in Iceland that have grown up on AKX, IPP and Helgasons stories. We need to do what we can to create a creative environment for these kids to create their own stories. Hopefully AKX is ne way to do that.
OB: Finally, what's up with the name?
Geiri: The name AK Extreme is kind of a joke. We would read/hear and see movies about Alaska (the real AK) here in Iceland. So the guys that created the event thought it would be proper to steal the AK name and make Akureyri the real AK in the snowboard scene. Extreme just conjures up images of silliness and awesomness.
OB: Indeed it does. Anything else you'd like to say before we go back to watching Charlie Sheen re-edits?
Geiri: Come Thursday the 7th of April you can watch it live here: liveproject.is/akextreme
OB: SHAZAM! Well, cheers for the heads up Geiri and look forward to checking out the re-birth of the AK Extreme!