Putting down roots: Jodi Blanchard has traveled, but now she’s ready to make a home in Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

Putting down roots: Jodi Blanchard has traveled, but now she’s ready to make a home in Breckenridge

BRECKENRIDGE – Jodi Blanchard hasn’t lived anywhere for long since leaving her family’s ranch in Idaho about four years ago, but she’s ready to call Summit County home – at least for a while.

Blanchard is the middle of five children. She grew up on a sheep and cattle ranch in a small town in southeast Idaho.

“Most of my last name is half the population now,” Blanchard said, laughing.

The 22-year-old loved growing up on a ranch and has fond memories of the hilly land, which ran along the Fall River. But the town, with its population of about 300, was a little too small and too religious for Blanchard. She left to join a friend in Breckenridge shortly after she graduated high school in 1998.

Unlike many young adults who move to Summit County to ski or snowboard, Blanchard had no interest in either.

“I tried skiing once and it was the worst experience in my life – the only time I got on the mountain the first season,” she said. “We would hike up behind Beaver Run with saucers and sleds.”

That summer, Blanchard left Summit County to work at a fly-fishing guest ranch just south of Yellowstone. She alternated between Summit County in the winter and the guest ranch in the summer until the winter of 2000-01, when Blanchard realized she wanted to go to beauty school and wasn’t saving enough money living in Summit County.

She left in the middle of that winter to return to the Yellowstone area, where she worked at a snowmobile rental shop. After another summer at the guest ranch, Blanchard had saved the money she needed for beauty school.

Blanchard graduated from the Fran Brown College of Beauty in December. The school is located in Layton, Utah – just north of Salt Lake City. The area didn’t live up to the stereotypes for Blanchard.

“As far as the Mormon influence, I didn’t even notice,” she said. “There’s a lot of really fun, open-minded people there.”

Blanchard returned to Yellowstone for a few months after she graduated. She considered moving from there to Missoula, Mont. – where she had received several job offers – but hesitated because she had neither friends there nor a place to live.

That’s when her friends Caitlin Kennedy and Carrie Baird invited Blanchard to live in Breckenridge with them. She accepted their offer and moved here in March.

Blanchard has changed a bit since her first season in Summit County. She’s a snowboarder now, and she has a career. She works at the Chopping Block Salon in Breckenridge and loves what she does.

“I originally wanted to go into psychology,” Blanchard said. “In a way, I kind of am, because whenever someone is in my chair, they like to tell me everything.”

Blanchard enjoys all aspects of the beauty business but especially cuts, color and styles – which she considers another form of artwork. She’s certain she’s found her calling in hair.

“It changes the way people look for the better. It’s the most rewarding thing in the world when somebody says they love what I’ve done.”

For now, Blanchard has put aside her wandering ways and is focusing on her career. She’ll be in Summit County for at least a year this time, maybe longer.

“Everybody’s so happy here, so it’s easy for me to be happy.”

Blanchard anticipates she’ll move again, eventually – maybe to Oregon or Washington. Or perhaps she’ll spend time working on a cruise ship.

“I can’t say I’ll settle any place for a lifetime, at this point,” she said. “I have yet to see the ocean. I do love the mountains, but I might fall in love with the ocean once I see it.”

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