Ashland man dies while hiking in Colorado

An Ashland ultra-marathoner, long-distance biker and yoga instructor was killed last week when he fell from a peak in southwest Colorado, authorities say.

Alex Newport-Berra, 33, was in the Ice Lake Basin area to hike the 13,767-foot Ulysses S. Grant Peak and to follow the ridge around to some surrounding peaks, Melody Skinner with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office told the Durango Herald.

Skinner said Newport-Berra, who was hiking alone, probably died July 20 after falling from Pilot Knob, one of the peaks surrounding the lakes in the basin.

His body was found July 22.

San Juan County Coroner Keri Metzler said Newport-Berra suffered multiple blunt-force injuries.

Newport-Berra taught yoga at Bikram Yoga of Ashland.

He became a certified Bikram Yoga teacher in 2007, and taught in Hawaii, New York, California, Las Vegas and Singapore before landing in Ashland, according to his teacher biography on the yoga studio's website.

Newport-Berra wrote in his biography that yoga allowed him to stay healthy and injury-free so he could enjoy time outside running, biking and hiking.

"After 90 minutes in the room, with no distractions, and the inward focus on breath, intention of movement, and stillness, what is important in life becomes clear," Newport-Berra wrote. "Health, positivity, and a balance of strength and flexibility, both physically and mentally."

Bikram Yoga of Ashland canceled classes July 23, and instead held a tribute class during the time when Newport-Berra would have been teaching a silent class. Staff also set up a memorial in front of the studio with flowers, pictures and notes of memories.

"Alex influenced so many of us in incredibly beautiful, delightful, and positive ways," the studio posted on Facebook. "His wisdom will blossom and be felt for years and years to come."

Newport-Berra was also involved with the Ashland running community. Rogue Valley Runners shared an album of photos of Newport-Berra on his trip to Colorado on its Facebook wall.

"Our small community lost a huge figure this week," wrote Rogue Valley Runners, owned by ultra-marathoner Hal Koerner. "I will miss his smiling face, insatiable drive and incomparable kindness most."

Attempts to reach Rogue Valley Runners staff for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Since 2008, Newport-Berra kept a well-read blog of his travel adventures, runs and recipes, such as his latest obsession of juicing watermelons. Newport-Berra's final post, on July 19, described the San Juan Mountains as "inspiring and humbling."

"May each pilot their own ship," the top of Newport-Berra's blog reads. "And may your life's passion be a wind to fill others' sails."

Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Kelsey Thomas at 541-776-4368 or

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