I recently joined this site and thought it would be fun to review the resorts that I have the most knowledge of. So far I've only reviewed the resorts that I've worked in, but it reminded me of how terrible the apres, and nightlife in general, is in US resorts.
Now this is only in my experience and obviously there are a lot of resorts that I've not been to. However, I've spent a lot of time in Colorado and in Vermont and nowhere have I found a resort that compares favourably to the atmosphere you'll find in even an average European resort.
Take Killington, for example. If you read the majority of reviews on this site you'd think this was an amazing, super lively place, where the fun never stops. Ok, so the bars can busy at weekends, and maybe Spring Break, but otherwise the place is dead. Go into one of the larger bars on a Tuesday night and your only company might be the tumble weed blowing by.
Go to a resort in the alps and there is always a great atmosphere in town. There are lots of bars, clubs, live music, parties and generally lots to do. You don't have to partake but if you want to you can party till dawn. And I've certainly never found anywhere in the US where I could play the nail game. One resort I've worked in even has a go go bar on the slopes!
This isn't just my point of view either. I work in the travel industry and whilst all my guests raved about the great snow conditons and the polite lift queues (lines), they often mentioned the lack of apres and decent evening entertainment.
In my opinion some of the reasons for all of this are firstly that Americans take their skiing too seriously. They like to ski hard and therefore have to go to bed at 7pm. Secondly, Americans have to drive everywhere. This is always a downer on a night out and is not helped by the elongated nature of a lot of US ski towns. Also, I don't think many Americans have ventured outside their continent to go skiing and therefore don't know any better.
So America, get yourselves over to Europe (I know it's expensive at the moment). You get great skiing, in massive ski areas which are at least twice as big as anything Stateside. You also get a melting pot of cultures and a whole load of entertainment.