“Behind every beautiful thing, there's been some kind of pain"

So said newly-anointed Nobel laureate Bob Dylan - and if snowboarding is indeed beautiful (as this outstanding documentary set out to discover) then we should expect it to walk hand-in-hand with a boatload of agony.

Some of it's the metaphorical kind - like when the mountains get so much snow that you can't actually get there - but for the most part it takes the form of bone-breaking, flesh-pummelling, blood-spilling slams. As with many things in life, it helps to know your enemy, so here's a handy breakdown of snowboarding's most common catastrophes.

Prevention is better than cure, so we've outlined how you can avoid getting in a sticky situation in the first place. Obviously it's practice and experience that will help you the most, but knowing what to avoid ahead of time can't hurt - certainly not as much as going full taco-tard on a downrail, anyway.

However, the slam eventually comes for us all, at which point you'll need an escape plan. If you can see it coming - and ocassionally you will - we've explained what to focus on should your natural instincts for survival get caught napping.

Here's a dozen of the most classic slams in snowboarding - and thankfully for all of us, none of them are as bad as this:

ski-split-rail-fail-3

1) THE SCORPION

snowboarder-scorpion-slam

What Is It?

We begin with the mother of all slams, and the one that's usually the earliest to come knocking in one's shredding life - the dreaded Scorpion.

As if the humiliation of catching your toe edge isn’t bad enough, in a full Scorp your board will actually come up behind you like the tail of the stingy arachnid that gives this slam its name. Depending on how flexible you are, your board may even make contact with your back - either way, you’ll be feeling it for days.

How Can I Avoid It?

The Scorpion is something that becomes far less likely once you get a bit better at snowboarding. The edge catch may still happen, but after a while you learn to roll with it and control the legs in such a way that the board doesn’t fly up towards your back. Essentially, once you’ve Scorped once, your instincts will kick in to avoid it happening again.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

If there had been time to figure out what was happening, you'd have already taken steps to avoid the Scorp - sorry, but you're getting stung. There's not much you can do other than dust yourself off, have another go, and pray that nobody saw it...

2) THE BUTT-CHECK

stale-sandbech-butt-check-snowboarding

What Is It?

When you haven't quite stuck the landing of a jump, your arse may drag on the ground in such a manner that you can keep your momentum and ride away. NB: when this happens you cannot in good conscience say you’ve ‘stomped it’.

How Can I Avoid It?

Get the landing gear (ie. your feet) down perfectly and this will won't be a problem. Also, make sure you don't put too much of your weight over your heel edge as you land.

Keep in mind also that sometimes it’s best not to avoid the butt-check, as trying to hang on to a landing when you're not fully in control may result in a much nastier edge-catch as you ride out.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

As long as you haven't claimed, then don't sweat it. Head back to the lift and stomp it clean next time.

3) THE TACO

taco

What Is It?

When riding straight along a rail, your board slips off but your upper body remains over the rail. As gravity does its thing, you 'fold' around the rail in a painful impression of the famous Mexican dish.

How Can I Avoid It?

Avoid ‘breaking at the waist’ when on a rail. As soon as you lean over, there’s a good chance you’re in taco country.

One way to prevent this is to keep your eyes locked on the end of the rail - and if you feel your board slipping off to one side, let your whole body just go with it. There's always next time.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

It’s not easy, as this one is over in a flash, but try and hit the rail with your squidgy bits (stomach) rather than the solid stuff (ribs). Both will hurt, but one takes a lot longer to heal. Try to keep your knees clear of the side of the rail too.

4) THE REVERSE TACO

halldor-helgason-reverse-taco-snowboard-slam

What Is It?

This one's a bit of a misnomer - unless you're Dhalsim from Street Fighter, your body won't bend round the rail in the same way if you fall on your back. If anything, however, it's even worse than the standard Taco.

How Can I Avoid It?

The Reverse Taco is definitely rarer, as it usually happens when attempting a more difficult trick than a 5050. When spinning on to a rail, even if it's just 90 degrees, avoid the 'dead man's click' by ensuring you get up and over the rail safely, without catching your board on it.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

This one's pretty horrible, as you're probably not going to be able to see exactly when you're going to hit the rail. Think supple thoughts.

Once it's over, try and get your weight towards your feet so you ride away rather than toppling over the rail and landing on your head.

5) THE RAGDOLL

snowboard-ragdoll-slam

What Is It?

After a high-speed fall in powder, you find yourself tumbling down the slope with about as much control over your bodily functions as Rosie & Jim after a night on the scrumpy.

How Can I Avoid It?

Keep the nose of your board up - as long as you don’t put your weight too far forward, you should be OK. The same applies when landing cliffs and drops in the backcountry.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

Do your best to relax – any wild movements won't achieve much other than potentially causing you injury. As you start to slow down, see if you can at least position your snowboard further down the hill than the rest of you - that'll make it much easier to get going again.

6) THE TOMAHAWK

snowboarder-ragdoll-tomahawk-slam

What Is It?

This is essentially the Ragdoll Supreme With Extra Cheese. If you go over the nose on a steep enough pitch and at a fast enough speed, you’ll simply launch end-over-end like a thrown tomahawk.

How Can I Avoid It?

Again, keep that nose up! Plus you could always go slower, or ride mellower terrain, but where’s the fun in that?

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

You’re entirely at the mercy of fate – try and enjoy the experience, because there’s bugger all you can do to change things.

7) THE YARD SALE

snowboarder-yard-sale-slam-2

What Is It?

Another variant on the ragdoll, in which your beanie and goggles have succumbed to centrifugal force and have departed your head for destinations unknown.

It mostly happens in powder, but can also occur after a particularly nasty slam on a kicker (much like Romain De Machi in the above clip).

How Can I Avoid It?

If you wear a helmet, it’s easy to dodge this one as long as you’ve remembered to do up the chin strap and use the goggle clip (or wear your goggles under your lid). For everyone else, it’s pretty much inevitable. Even if your goggles are fastened super tight, there's only so much that'll achieve.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

Good luck finding your stuff - it'll be a chilly run down if you don't.

8) THE HALF BACKFLIP

snowboarder-half-packflip-slam

What Is It?

We've all seen this oone on the internet (not neccessarily on a snowboard): guy thinks he can backflip, guy can't fully backflip, guy eats shit.

How Can I Avoid It?

Commit! Whether it's on a kicker, a trampoline or a swimming pool, the backflip is all about confidence. Chuck it hard and keep your chin away from your body so that you can spot the landing - it's daunting at first, but gets easier over time.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

If it's definitely not going to come round, tuck your head in your arms. Not only will this provide a little extra protection to your head and neck, it'll give your arms and shoulders a better chance of avoiding injury too.

9) THE TOP DECK

shaun-white-top-deck-halfpipe-slam

What Is It?

Landing hard on the deck of an icy halfpipe is not something most of us have to worry about. However, if you are good enough to enjoy getting some serious height above the wall, then you definitely need a game plan for this.

How Can I Avoid It?

When launching out of the pipe, it’s all about finding the balance to ensure you catch the wall nicely on the way back down. Pop too much and you might land at the bottom of the transition, which in itself is terrible. Not enough, and you’re headed to the top deck.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

Compression is key: do as much arm-flailing as takes to make sure your feet touch down first, then bend the knees as best you can upon impact. Once that's happened, try to avoid falling back into the pipe - Shaun White gets away with in in the above clip, but you could just as easily land on your head.

10) THE OVERSHOOT

snowboard-kicker-overshoot

What Is It?

That sinking feeling in your gut that you get as you watch the immaculate, sloped landing of the kicker whip by underneath your board, while you continue towards the flat.

How Can I Avoid It?

Speed-check the kicker as best you can. Even if you had it dialed yesterday, the condition of the snow (and/or your snowboard) may have changed. Remind yourself of the speed required by standing up on the lip and chucking a snowball towards the sweetspot of the landing.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

Much like the top-deck, this one is all about getting the feet down first and absorbing the impact as best you can. Brace yourself for impact, but keep those knees loose.

If you get away unscathed, move away as quick as you can so that the next guy on the kicker won't plow into you.

11) THE UNDERSHOOT

snowboarder-hits-knuckle-of-kicker

What Is It?

Kicker design has vastly improved over the years, so landing on the knuckle often isn't as savage as it once was. It still sucks though, and can really do a number on your feet and ankles

How Can I Avoid It?

Again, speed is the key. Most people are much more likely to go into a kicker with not enough speed rather than too much, forgetting how much is lost as you ride up the wedge itself. If in doubt, give it a bit more gas.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

Hope that all the brand spiel about the cushioning properties of your boots/bindings wasn't just horseshit. Other than that, it's another case of absorbing the impact with your legs as best you can.

If you're totally ninja, you can try a frontflip out...

12) THE ROADKILL

snowboard-slams-into-car

What Is It?

Snowboarding in the streets: it's all fun and games until someone ends up under the wheels of a car.

How Can I Avoid It?

Of all the slams, this is perhaps the easiest to dodge. Just get a spotter to watch the road, and don't drop until he/she says it's clear. Rocket science it ain't.

Bollocks, Too Late. What Now?

The best case scenario is that you'll have a very interesting chat with one extremely miffed road user. Enjoy.