As students return to school this month, a closer look at the who’s who on NOCO’s campuses just might surprise you. With the price of higher education rising faster than the average income, the typical student body is no longer quite so typical. Students of all ethnicities, income levels and ages, from high schoolers to military veterans, are taking nontraditional routes to earning their degrees, and NOCO’s colleges and universities are working to accommodate them. We kick off this issue – and the new school year – on page 12 with an article about some of the innovative ways that schools are catering to the “new traditional” student.

Among the changes you will see as we turn the corner toward fall is the end of the summer sports season. Congratulations to the Johnstown-based Colorado Cyclones, champions of the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League, which just wrapped up its fourth year of bringing talented collegiate ballplayers to NOCO to improve their skills and increase their chances of landing a spot in the majors. This year, four of the league’s 10 teams were from Larimer and Weld counties. We profile the league and some of its players starting on page 18.

This month’s travel feature visits one of my favorite mountain towns, Steamboat Springs. It has been years since I skied there, but every June, Fort Collins-based Triple Crown Sports puts on the Mountain Magic softball tournament for players ages 12 to 18. The tournament attracts both local teams and those from neighboring states, and it has always been a must for the competitive teams we’ve coached. With Steamboat just a scenic, 3.5-hour drive from NOCO, I encourage you to spend a fall weekend riding the gondola, enjoying brews at Oktoberwest, relaxing in the hot springs, hiking, biking, eating and shopping. If you’re looking for a podcast to listen to on the drive, check out page 24, where NOCO podcaster Ken Conte shares how he got started and his picks of some of the best local podcasts.

To round out this issue, we ventured out to Heron Lakes for the TPC Colorado Championship. The city of Berthoud hosted the event in fine fashion, welcoming nationally ranked golfers with parties, clinics and great competition. The winner came down to the final shot. Nelson Ledesma’s 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole wrapped up the week. If you didn’t make it out to this inaugural event, make sure to pencil it in for next summer. See pages 56 and 57 for photos of the event.

As summer wraps up, make sure to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. A weekend road trip to Steamboat while listening to my favorite podcasts is calling my name.