Once only thought of as a sleepy little mountain ski town, Breckenridge's growth in the past 15 years has made it so much more.

Breckenridge has a population of about 5,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 data, the most recent available. Compare that to about 15 years prior, when the town's population was at just over 2,400.

In other words, the population has more than doubled since the year 2000.

That's probably because Breckenridge has so much to offer — and has for hundred of years.

Breckenridge's Beginnings

READ MORE: The making of a Colorado ski town

Friday, on 9NEWS mornings, we'll take a deeper dive into how Breckenridge got started. Make sure to check it out!

The first inhabitants came to Breckenridge in 1820s for its abundant fur trapping opportunities. Historians now call this period the "brown rush."

But the first real population boom came with discovery of gold in the Blue River. When other miner's heard of the discovery they followed and soon a town was formed.

Main Street between Lincoln and Washington Avenues, Breckenridge (Colo.)--1888-1892
Main Street between Lincoln and Washington Avenues, Breckenridge (Colo.)--1888-1892

Skiing has also long been a part of the town's history. Originally, however, it was more of necessity. Miners used skies in the winter months to get to their claims.

Once mining officially stopped in the 1950s Breckenridge's population dwindled to almost nothing. So the Breckenridge Ski Area was established to bring people back into the town. And it worked.

The Breckenridge Ski Resort

Today, the Breckenridge Ski Resort is owned by Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN), the Broomfield-based, publicly traded company that owns 11 U.S. resorts and hundreds of lodging properties, as well as develops mountain properties. Last year, Vail Resorts grew even further with its $1 billion buy of Whistler Blackcomb, the sprawling, popular ski area north of Vancouver.

The Breckenridge ski area encompasses five peaks spanning 2,908 acres with terrain parks and runs for all skill levels. Already the site of North America's highest chair lift (the Imperial Express), Vail Resorts is also planning major lift upgrades for the 2017-18 ski season (like a six-passenger chair instead of a two-passenger one, for example).

Also within the resort is the Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center, a massive hotel and meeting center located right at the base of Peak 9.

And even if skiing's not your thing, the town of Breckenridge has plenty to offer on its own.

Shopping and dining in Breckenridge

The 5.3-square-mile town has 2,200 developed acres, including 41 acres of town-owned parks. With just under 300 restaurant, bars, shops, boutiques and food and liquor stores, the town has something for everyone.

And with so many options, it's tough to nail down the best places to pay a visit — but locals love Hearthstone Restaurant, which offers American food in a classic Victorian home. Blue River Bistro, is also a fun dinner option, and Giampietro Pasta & Pizzeria is a cozy spot to grab Italian food.

It wouldn't be a true visit to Breckenridge if it didn't include a visit to the Breckenridge Brewery, one of Colorado's oldest and most famous beer-makers. Founded in 1990, the Breckenridge Brewery was scooped up by Anheuser-Busch InBev in December 2015.

Other good spots to kick back with a brew include The Canteen Tap House & Tavern, the Blue Stag Saloon, as well Broken Compass Brewing (try their Helles after a long day skiing — it's amazing).

Living in Breckenridge can get pretty pricey. The median sales price for a home is $712,500, according to real estate website Trulia.com. The median rent is $3,350.

Affordable housing is an issue Vail Resorts executives say they are trying to tackle in all their resort towns as the company struggles to recruit staff. In December 2015, for example, Vail Resorts pledged $30 million to construct housing projects for resort employees in Colorado and Utah.

Breckenridge also has more than 3,000 hotels, inns and condos. And all those beds are needed year-round as the city hosts several festivals and has a host of all-season options when it comes to outdoor recreation.

Recreation in Breckenridge

One festival that draws a surprisingly high number of industry veterans and fans is the three-day Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival, which last year moved from its longtime host city of Vail to Breckenridge. The festival drew some-2,000 people, plus 150 brewers serving up their favorite styles.

But the town's most notable event is the International Snow Sculpting Championship held each January. Colossal blocks of snow are carved by some of the best ice and snow sculptors in the world over the course of a week. They are then left up around the Riverwalk Center in downtown Breckenridge for another week so residents and visitors can come and view the masterpieces as well as vote on their favorite in the people's choice award.

This year, January 24-28 is sculpting week and January 28 - February 5 is viewing week.

Breckenridge is also home to several ski and boarding competitions, Ullr Fest, a traditional Christmas market, outdoor hockey competitions and more.

During the summer, Breckenridge's mountain town location means it has more than 47 miles of trails and 4,425 of open space. You can also rent a bicycle and ride it around town, or reserve a bike and book a day trip with Elevation Ski and Bike to get dropped off 11 miles up at the top of a nearby pass and ride down. (It's a blast, and especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing color).