Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Local mountain lovers unite for an art auction to benefit Nepal earthquake relief

Photo submitted

Denise Coriell, Chhongba Sherpa, Leeli Khare stand under a Tara Foundation banner at the Khola Bridge at dedication.

By Tracy Wilson

Do you have a love of the mountains? Have you travelled to Nepal and have fond memories and stories of your own to share? Have you always been intrigued by stories from Mt. Everest and the Sherpa people who make the expeditions possible? Or are you interested in the remote mountainous regions of Nepal and would like to learn more about travel or trekking there? Then join some like-minded individuals for an evening of interesting conversation, fine art photography from Nepal and the opportunity to bid on photography and other fabulous items “in the mountain theme” to benefit Nepal earthquake relief!

Mountains to Mountains,
People to People

This event connects people from the mountains of Vermont to people from the mountains of Nepal and is therefore called Mountains to Mountains, People to People. The event is this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 from 4-7 p.m. at the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain.  In addition to 37 beautiful piece of fine art photography from Nepal to bid on there are many, many other items to bid on including Nordica skis, POC bike and snow helmets, a private catered dinner for eight by Roots Restaurant of Rutland, a Shackelton Thomas platter, limited edition Peter Huntoon print as well as raffle items including a Pico Mountain season pass, a Hubbardton Forge floor lamp, a 2-night stay at the luxurious Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, N.Y., and a pair of Volkl skis.  More information on the event and the auction and raffle items is available at:

We are all connected

In the wake of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, Rutland locals and longtime Pico Ski Club members Bryan and Denise Cupoli, who travelled to Nepal in 2007 and were captivated by the generosity of the colorful people of the Khumbu, found themselves asking “how can we truly make a difference? How can we help the Nepali people in this time of great need?”

Denise and Bryan Cupoli have been to the areas affected by the April/May earthquakes and were already brutally aware of the harsh living conditions of many of the people in these remote areas.  They decided that making a single financial contribution to Nepal earthquake relief was just not enough, and they were not even sure how and where to make a contribution that it would really get to Nepal and be able to affect some change.

Enter 29-year Killington area residents Fred and Denise Coriell, owners of Peak Performance Ski Shop. Bryan Cupoli worked the Coriells just after college and after the recent earthquakes became aware of the Coriell’s work in Nepal through mutual friends. Denise is very attached to the mountains and helping others, both near and far. She is a Wilderness EMT and volunteers for both the Killington Fire Department and the Killington Search and Rescue team. Denise is on the Board of Directors of the TARA Foundation USA, a New Hampshire based 501c3 non-profit whose purpose is to improve the lives of the people living in the Himalaya and help them to preserve their traditional culture. Denise and Fred have both travelled to Nepal. Denise’s first trip was in 2008 and she was so fascinated by the people of the Himalaya and their culture she has been back every year since. Denise travels with Leeli Bonney, the founder of the TARA Foundation USA. They tour remote villages in the Solukhumbu region with TARA Foundation USA associate director Chhongba Sherpa to assess needs, receive requests, distribute aid and check up on projects that are in progress.

A fundraiser is born

Their mutual love of the mountains and concern for the people of Nepal once again brought the Cupoli’s and the Coriell’s back together.  All of the proceeds from the Mountains to Mountains, People to People fundraiser will go to the TARA Foundation USA, and 100 percent of all donations to the TARA Foundation USA go directly to the people of the Himalaya. These funds will be allocated specifically for sustainable rebuilding efforts in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal.

Denise Cupoli states, “Our event started with an idea from two individuals. By collaborating with other community members our idea has evolved into the fundraiser it is today.  It’s like a domino effect. We have been inspired by other organizations in our community and hope to be an inspiration for continued change. Bryan and I have met so many new people through this project and those connections will continue to resonate throughout this community.  The final outcome of Mountains to Mountains, People to People will reach people abroad who need our help, but the connections, passions and awareness will stay local.  Our community will grow because of this event and anyone who attends the benefit auction will walk away with a greater sense of community as well as a greater understanding for the culture of Nepal.”

Together we can help rebuild Nepal

If you cannot attend the event, you can still help. You can buy raffle tickets online at  or at Peak Performance Ski Shop at 2808 Killington Road. Or stop in at the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge at Pico Mountain from 12-noon – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 to view the items and place an absentee bid. You need not be present to win the auction or raffle items. Much work has already been done, but the need is still great.  Long-term rebuilding will take time, money and dedication.

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