The residents of Mammoth’s “International House” share food, culture and … bathrooms
When I walked into unit 113 in the Mammoth Estates Condominiums, 22-year-old Sumit Suthar met me at the door with a huge hug and the offer of slippers, as the smell of Kharai Chicken wafted through the house Suthar shares with six other roommates—from six different countries. Up until a couple weeks ago, seven countries were represented in “House 113,” as the roommates refer to it, but their roommate Chris Basco, 24, from the Philippines, had recently returned home after his U.S. J-1 Visa’s term had ended.
The rest of the roommates still have the flags from their countries artfully displayed on the wall of the Mammoth condo (which sports classic “ski town” decor, like a chairlift seat next to the wood stove and a lamp decorated with old skis, bindings still attached). Representing India are Suthar, from Mumbai, and Ashwin Anthony, 25, from Patna in the north of India (Anthony was the one cooking Kharai Chicken for my visit, both young men currently work in food service at the Westin). Ruslana Holovakha, 21, from Ukraine, just finished working as a hostess at the Westin Monache and plans to leave House 113 in about a week in order to do a bit of sightseeing before she returns home. Angus Malcon, 24, from New Zealand, apparently eschews the spotlight and was working out at the gym during the dinner party the housemates invited me to. Leo Castillo, 30 (Mexico), and Richell Luna, 23, (China), were unfortunately called in to work the night of my visit (both are cooks at the Westin).
The couple, according to their roommates, make incredible fusion food together. “You’ll have Asian food, and it’ll be wrapped in a tortilla,” said Patrick Sippel, 27, who is the token American in the international house and is possessed of a dry wit that makes it hard to tell when he’s joking until he cracks a sly smile.
Suthar assumed the role of ambassador during my visit, giving me a tour of the house, showing me photos of the roommates, asking if I needed anything. “He even elected himself Prime Minister,” Sippel says of Suthar, who clearly takes pride in the house, its occupants, and the multi-cultural vibe they have cultivated in House 113. It was Suthar who arranged the flags in a “V” shape on the wall, and his habits tend to dictate some of the practices of the community. “We don’t do a lot of partying, because Sumit doesn’t drink,” says Sippel, who says it’s nice to have the house as a kind of respite from the party atmosphere of a ski town.