Paige Blankenbuehler
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October 3, 2012
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Life sustained in a small mountain town

"I have everything I could ever possibly need or want right here," said John Thaler, who has not stepped out of Breckenridge's town limits in nearly two years.

His effort of sustaining life in Breck hasn't taken much effort at all, in fact, Thaler hadn't even realized that he'd stayed put for so long - instead, it was brought to his attention by his friend, Holly Blando who has lived in Breck for five years. She figured out that Thaler hadn't left town even for the most simple things.

"He's such a great guy," Blando said. "We realized he hadn't left for so long after we were poking fun at him one night. I have this vision that he would be grabbing onto the Breckenridge town sign while I'm pulling him out of town - he's very comfortable in Breckenridge, he doesn't leave naturally."

So what is the origin of a creature of comfort? What did Thaler experience to embrace the contentment of living in a small mountain town?

Perhaps it was his 10-month stint in Las Vegas where he worked at a restaurant that provided him with enough excitement to last a lifetime.

"It was interesting living there," Thaler said. "It was fun, but I came back because I really didn't like my job."

That was back in 2005. Since then, Thaler has lived in Breckenridge working at South Ridge Seafood Grill as the sous chef.

His time in Breckenridge, a total of 12 years was divided by living in Vegas. Thaler originally moved to Breck in 1994.

"My sister was taking care of a house on Peak 8 and needed help so she called and I showed up a month later," he said.

Differing from Las Vegas, Thaler said he enjoys the mountain town atmosphere.

"It's quiet and safe," he said. "I've been here 12 years and I know 85 percent of the people that live here - I like this time of year because it's slow. I can walk down Main Street and know almost everyone that's still hanging around."

He lives a simple life he says, but that is all he needs.

"I have a house - I don't own it but I have a place to sleep. I have a great job, I have friends, I have family and I have a grocery store if I need to go," Thaler said.

Day-to-day life makes for a comfortable routine filled with good times and is usually drama free.

"I'm pretty simple," he said. "I wake up, I come to work, go down to the bar have a couple beers with the boys and go home and then do it all over again the next day. It's great," Thaler said.

His sister lives in Breckenridge and the 13 employees at the restaurant are family to him.

"We're a pretty tight-knit family," Thaler said. "We've all been here for the most part four years or more, we have a great time working together - I even swing by here on my days off and make sure no one is killing each other and then I go home."

But leaving is inevitable this November, he says.

"My grandfather is turning 98 so I'm going back to Virginia for that," Thaler said. "It will be good to go back to see my mom, my aunt and my grandfather especially."

Blando and his other friends are eager for Thaler's long streak in Breckenridge to finally come to an end.

"I really want him to come along with us and have adventures," Blando said. "We're always inviting him to go camping in places in the county, so maybe now that we've embarrassed him, he'll come along with us more often!"

Thaler laughs at this prospect though.

"I love Breckenridge, it's just a small mountain resort town. What else could you want?" he said.


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The Summit Daily Updated Oct 4, 2012 03:30PM Published Oct 3, 2012 09:09PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.