Kris Mattera, an avowed city girl, made the Colorado leap four years ago after moving to the Roaring Fork Valley from Boston. “I grew up in the woods of Connecticut, near the Massachusetts border. I moved to Boston for school—undergrad and grad—then stayed for work. I found myself feeling very stuck and needed a big-time shift in my life,” says the executive director of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce. Following a summer in Buena Vista working at a dude ranch, Mattera moved from the city to the valley. “The Roaring Fork Valley had a great mix of what I wanted in a new home, [including] beautiful open spaces and cultural opportunities with good access to skiing. Many people may think that I’m a city girl after living in Boston for 13 years, but where I grew up was known for its horses, dairy farms and lots of protected open space—and bears. To me, the valley has a mix of both of the worlds I came from back East, with the added perk of much better mountains.” Mattera promotes the great businesses in Basalt and works on a number of initiatives to help with what she calls a company’s digital curb appeal.
What’s your favorite thing about Basalt?
Hands down, it’s the people. Everyone is genuinely nice and says hello when you walk down the street. Business owners connect with people on a truly personal level. Basalt prides itself on small-town charm, and I can say it’s authentic.
Describe your ideal day in Basalt.
An ideal day would include grabbing a cup of coffee or light breakfast in historic downtown, then hopping on my bike to ride up the Pan to get great views of Ruedi, then loop back across town, doing my own version of Tour de Basalt through Willits and Crown Mountain Park. I love how all the roads and bike paths can interconnect to create all these different routes, crisscrossing along our Gold Medal waters. Then I’d head out to do some shopping, then dinner alfresco. I love how much live music Basalt has, especially around dinner time—it’s truly one of the things that sets it apart.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
It depends on the season. Year-round, I like to run, and in the warmer months, hiking and biking fill my free time. I’ve been a skier since I was 11, so that’s my go-to winter sport; however, I’m still learning to adjust to powder instead of sheets of ice on the [East Coast].
What are your favorite cultural activities?
I love Mountain Fair for the creativeness and amazing art experience. Five Points Film Fest (5pointfilm.org) always gets me excited to get outdoors, just as everything is starting to warm up. I love Aspen Ideas and the opportunity to nerd out and listening to others’ passions. I used to live in an apple orchard, and I love hard cider, so Cidermass (talbottsciderco.com) is a new favorite. Finally, while it isn’t an event per se, the Basalt Sunday Market (basaltsundaymarket.com) is worth repeat visits over the course of the summer months— take the time to get to know your farmer.
A little-known fact about Basalt that you recently learned?
Most people know that Basalt’s origins are rooted in the mining and railroad days of the late 1880s. What you may not know is some of the history tied to that past. For more than three decades, the Basalt Chamber’s office was located in the red caboose in Lions Park, right next to town hall.
Photography by: Courtesy of the Basalt Chamber of Commerce