Dave Zweig

Then-assistant coach for China’s national halfpipe team, Dave Zweig poses in front of the Olympic logo above the halfpipe at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Zweig joined the AVSC coaching staff ahead of the 2022-23 season. 

Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club announced two coaching additions Thursday, bringing in — and in one case, back — some veteran leadership into the coaching ranks.

Longtime Vail Ski and Snowboard Club coach Dave Zweig signs on as the park and pipe comp head coach and Casey Puckett returns to helm AVSC’s International Skiing Federation women’s team and its post-graduate training program.

For Zweig, who started coaching freestyle in 2007 at Woodward Copper, he returns to Colorado after AVSC came knocking following three years assisting China’s Olympic team.

“Greg [Ruppel] just asked if I wanted to join the Aspen team, and we talked about it and here I am,” Zweig said in a phone interview Thursday. “It’s just different experiences. I worked for Ski Club Vail and it was a great time, but you need something new, you need a change of pace. Those three years with the Chinese national team was definitely a good change of pace and it’s good to be back home and back in the U.S.”

Zweig followed Vail’s director of freeskiing to China to assist her as she led the national halfpipe team in their development leading into the Beijing Olympics.

It was a new test for Zweig that he said was an opportunity to really show “what [he’s] made of.”

“Adaptability is the biggest thing with all that because when you’re coaching a team like that, you have a lot of different barriers — cultural, language, everything like that,” Zweig said. “But at the end of the day, you don’t treat them any different. They’re still kids. They’re amazing kids, and they understand skiing.”

He highlighted the chance to contribute to the relatively new development of skiing in China and being able to give back to skiing in that way. In Aspen, he’s looking forward to doing some of the same development of local kids.

“It’s just giving back to skiing because skiing has always been my first love, and I’m very passionate about [it],” Zweig said. “It’s just trying to give back to the kids. We all work in judged sports but at the end of the day, if a kid puts down the best run of their life, I’m proud of that.”

Zweig has already been working in Aspen for about a month. His responsibilities will include traveling with athletes to different contests and helping them train at home in the interim, following Ruppel’s lead.

Ruppel was named the Freeski Development Coach of the Year by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard this year.

Zweig is USSA certified to coach freeski at level 300 and aerials at level 100, in addition to airbag and trampoline.

Joining Zweig in AVSC coaching changes is the return of Casey Puckett to lead the women’s FIS and help coach post-graduate racers.

Puckett was on the alpine coaching team for nine years before joining the U.S. Ski Team as the Women’s Europa Cup head coach for two seasons. He’s made a mark of some of the program’s most elite skiers, including Stella Johansson, who earned a start for Team USA in the FIS World Cup in Austria in October, one of just a handful of AVSC alumna to accomplish so.

Puckett did not immediately return a request for comment for this story, but submitted a statement in AVSC’s news release.

“I am thrilled to return back to AVSC and continue to work with the dedicated and inspiring coaching staff there, not to mention the incredibly talented athletes,” Puckett said in the release. “I feel very lucky to be able to continue to serve this community and the talented athletes in it.”

Rich Allen is a sports reporter for the Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at rich@aspendailynews.com.