I've been playing on private fields for 14 years, I've played at Hidden Sights, Vermont Indoor, Rutland Indoor and a number of fields in NH, MA and PA.
The only relevant field still in business is Colchester paintball. My only experience there was not positive and I haven't been back. Colchester is a standard backyard speedball pallet and spool field. There wasn't any cover higher than my waist. While crouching is important in paintball, I do like to be able to stand up on occasion. I've heard there are other fields there but the refs didn't take us to them the one time I went to play. If you're into speedball you might like this field, but for the average player looking for interesting terrain and a chance to relive childhood experiences pretending to shoot each other in the woods this field isn't for you.
Directions to the Field:
Advanced is about half way between Morrisville in Lamoille County and Newport in Orleans County. It's very close to Jay Peak so if you're at Jay for any reason in the spring, summer or fall it would be a quick trip.
I heard from another player that the owner of the field owns a concrete business. He discovered paintball and realized he could build a great field on his own property. He did a damn fine job.
Safety: I don't believe this field is insured. I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. Some people in the paintball community feel that you should never play paintball on anything other than an official field because the insurance requirements for paintball force the companies to be safe. If you have ever been to a poorly run paintball field you know that is a load of crap. Paintball insurance providers, like all insurance companies, are profitable because they try as hard as they can to never pay out for any reason. I worked at a field for 4 years and other than the initial paperwork we were never reviewed, audited or interviewed to make sure we were meeting the requirements of our policy. Why? Because if we ever had an injury they would simply claim we had violated one of their requirements and we would have to sue them to make them pay out on our policy. That's how insurance works. So just having insurance is no guarantee that the equipment is being maintained or the field is following safety standards.
Their masks were up to date, they explained rules on close range, overshooting, chronographing and keeping your damn mask on. A lot of the players seemed to be regulars and they were helping the ref keep the new players from doing stupid things like removing their masks when they were hit. I can name three official insured fields I have been on that weren't at all concerned with these issues.
My one safety issue is that some of the decking on the structures needs to be replaced. I'm a big guy and I almost went through an old step.
Hours of Operation: They're open weekends. The only issue I have had is if they have canceled a day for any reason they don't seam to take their roadside sign down. I drove up there this year and the sign was still up but no one was there.
Prices: No field fee. I'm pretty sure this is because the owner wants people to play against and this helps encourage you to play.
I believe a case (2,000 rounds) was $50. That is comparable to retail prices which tend to be a lot cheaper than field prices (Did I mention the owner wants you to come up and play?). I don't remember the HPA or CO2 prices, but I remember them being reasonable.
Rules: Pretty standard for a paintball field. The only issue I had was that EVERYTHING is in bounds and that was not clearly explained when we started. There is a tape line around the outside of the property but the individual fields are not separately marked so we had people sneaking WAY around us in our first game because we assumed the field ended at our backs.
Rentals, Services, ProShop: The rentals are Tippmann Gryphons. I brought my own 14 year old gun so I'm not sure if the rentals are good. They carry basic supplies like barrel bags and random parts but there isn't a full pro shop. The ref and the other players were willing to help new players field strip and trouble shoot their guns.
Players: There were no issues on the field however at the end of the day I realized one of the players had been slugging down beers between games. He seemed fine when he was playing but at the end of the day he wasn't looking too good. Thankfully he was not driving. This is something the refs have to watch out for. I saw the same thing on the field I worked for and on other fields I have been to. It's the weekend and people are stupid, but they shouldn't be stupid when they're carrying paintball guns.
Facilities: There is no food or bathroom facilities.
Fields: Frankly the amount of work they put into the fields is astounding. Colchester Paintball, in a much more heavily populated area of Vermont with 10 more years in business has nothing compared with this field. The old Hidden Sights had the village, some towers and some wrecked vehicles.
Field 1 - THE CASTLE: The castle is a 3 story walled structure on a small hill. The side closest to the staging area is easy to approach but you won't make it far if the castle defenders see you. The front side has a moat with a bridge over it. The bridge can be approached down a hill with 5' high bunkers made of sticks and dirt, the side farthest from the staging areas is a steep hill with a swamp at the bottom. You can advance up the hill through a series of bunkers, but it is a hard climb. The back side has a steep embankment with a stream at the bottom. The Castle itself has a large double gate at the front that can be bared from within and a small man sized back door. Right above the back door is a 2 story tower that is to rotten to use. I'm sure it can be rebuilt so you can once again climb into it. Starting at the back wall is a ramp that spirals around the interior of the castle. The back wall is only 1 story high, but the walkway at the front wall is on the 2nd story and there are 3rd story towers on either of the front corners. The whole place made me feel like an 8-year-old at a playground. It was awesome.
Field 2 - THE TOWERS: I'm pretty sure this was built pre-Team Fortress 2, but maybe they were fans of the original Team Fortress. Between the Castle and The Towers is a swampy valley with some bunkers and a 2-story tower. This tower can cover the approach back and forth from The Towers to The Castle.
Uphill from the swamp tower is a 3-story tower made with Concrete forms and rough timber. There is a ground level with a back and front door and windows on the sides. The second level is mostly open with ramparts and a covered slide/ladder down to the ground. Level 3 is the top of the tower up a steep ladder. This tower is connected to an uphill tower complex by a 2nd story bridge with a ground floor room as part of the center support. Across the bridge is a 3 building complex with two 2 story buildings and a 3 story tower. This tower has a ladder up to the 3rd floor and a trap door with a ladder down to a separate room in the 1st floor.
Between the towers and under the bridge are scattered stick and dirt bunkers.
Field 3 - THE BLOCK HOUSE: This is a 2 story building with a 3rd story tower. On the first floor there is a front entrance and an escape hole in the back. The 2nd story is a deck with ramparts and the 3rd story is up a ladder overlooking the tower field and an old farm road that begins at the staging area. There are bunkers scattered along the sides of the road and into the woods that give cover to attackers.
Filed 4 - SPEEDBALL: This is a mirrored speedball field with a snake on one side. ALl the bunkers are made from pallets. No one in our group was interested in playing on this field when there were towers and as castle to play in.
An amazing amount of time and effort was spent to create these fields and they are a blast to play on. I would highly recommend this field over Colchester but it is a longer drive if you're from the Burlington area. They have their own website and a facebook page if you need to find out about hours or try to coordinate with other players. I tried to make it several times this year but kept running into rain or having friends bail on me. Hopefully I'll make it again next year.