The accuracy of this review is disputed. Please see discussion on the comments page.
Period of Field Use:
August 7th, 2010
More than 5 years
Other Fields in the Area:
First Strike Paintball Games, Bubba's Paintball, Splat Tag, Oklahoma Dday, Stalker Paintball....all have ups and downs but all quite organized.
I regularly play with a group of folks who have basically "grown up" at Hidden Valley. They have been trying to get me and my team to go there for a couple years now. I have heard nothing but great things about the field, besides maybe a couple warnings of a little dis-organization. No big deal.
They have their two major "big games" annually. The Alamo, and Battle of Bocage. I missed the Alamo game this year and the reviews and recaps I was given by a few of my teammates that attended were sketchy. I finally decided that I needed to check this place out for myself. So, I signed up for the Bocage game.
The Bocage game is a two day event that allows people to start showing up on Friday night and lets them camp on the property through the weekend. Pretty loose group that lets you have bon-fires, and no real curfew as some places have. They also allow alcohol consumption on the property. Not a problem in my book, as long as it's controlled by the individuals. Some may find it a problem though which is why I mention it.
The safety briefing before the game started..........you all know the drill. Barrel blockers, masks on at all times, no bunkering, no over shooting, blah, blah, blah. Not this one. This one mentioned to not shoot at the remote controlled airplane because it was going to be taking pictures. This one mentioned not to disturb a huge bees nest right in the middle of the playing field because the owner's brother collects bees nests. That's right, don't shoot the bees nest or disturb it in any way! Did anyone ask if there was anybody that might be allergic to bees? No. I only heard a small fraction of the normal "rules" that usually accompany a paintball game. This gave me an uneasy feeling and only led to problems throughout the day I feel.
I arrived saturday morning. I was told per the website and other sources that the game was to start at 09:00. We were on the field waiting to start at 10:30. Again, not a big deal in my book.
The particular field we played was a valley. Flag station on each side on top of the hill. One side had a corn field for cover and a couple bunkers. The other side had washed out over-grown ditches and trenches for cover. Woods on the borders were out of bounds. The dead box that was shared by both sides was at the 50 yard line just out of bounds. Nice dead box. Simple, but effective. It was manned by a ref who was holding a clock in his hands timing the 15 min. re-insertions. Out of the dead box, you were supposed to get back to your base to tap in. This rarely happened on both sides from what I saw. From one side of the field, you had only a frontal assault. The other side of the field was given the option to sneak through a corn field to the back side of the base, and come up on their 6. Added an interesting element to the game. However, after the lunch break, and there was a "switch sides" directive given (typical), we took the field. Not until we got to the top of the field did a couple people mention that the option to go around the back side was gone now. They said it was unfair. So one side had the option, but when switching sides you take that option away. Changing the rules on the fly.....this is the dis-organization I was warned about. The game was halted to take up the matter with the field owner. He overturned the points gained using the option in the previous game. Then started the game without one whole side not even having masks on. One side came charging towards the valley shooting, and the complete other team didn't have their masks on. I overheard the head ref screaming at the field owner that he did not call game on. Scary.
As far as referees, they were in short supply. One in the dead box, and four on the field........sitting on quads near the side lines. One ref was dead center and he did all of the work. He was the head ref. Great guy, WAY overworked for no good reason. There were between 80 and 100 people on the field with at least 6 flag stations. Not nearly enough reffing staff. That is the first major problem I noticed here.
Cheating was an issue on both sides. That happens anywhere and is a problem with the sport more than the field. More reffing staff would have helped contain it a little bit, but not completely.
Field staff. The field owner is the dad. The daughter and son-in-law (head ref) run the show. I did my best to offer advice which was asked of me. The daughter was quite compassionate about the sport and helping her field grow. If you offered advice to the dad, you were scrutinized and labeled as a "cry baby.".....which many were that day. Some did come off in that fashion, others like myself, were only trying to help. We were also told from the field owner that he "doesn't care if we ever come back. He doesn't need us." And I quote. In short, because I could go on all day, too many chiefs, and not enough Indians.
I was given an exclusive tour of the rest of the property by the daughter of the field because I had not seen the rest of the field at that point. VERY NICE FIELD!!! They have a lot of time, money, and effort into the property itself, that was obvious. It was almost breathe taking for a small town field in Wisconsin. If only that same kind of passion was put into the other critical parts of the game this place could easily be hosting 300-400 person games on a regular basis.
The Alamo game from the spring of 2010 was apprx 40 people. This Bocage game was apprx 90 people.
A number of people who have played this field for years were driven away during this game because of how they were treated by the staff. They assured the owner they would never return to which the owner replied, "perhaps the games will have to be invite only from now on." I feel they should listen to their players, their customers.
I've been paintballing for over 18 years now. I have played fields from one end of the country to the other. I am a business owner, and a team captain/owner. The efforts of some of the staff were tremendous. Only to be forgotten by the treatment from other staff. Nice field, I hope they can find a way to listen to the feed back instead of pushing it away.
I am in no way attacking Hidden Valley. These events are truthful and they did happen. I only want to see paintball as a whole grow, and that includes paintball fields in general. This one included. I for one, will not be returning.
Hidden Valley is a great place for scenario's, the ref's are nice as heII and Gary is one of the nicest guys you can know, I brought a tank to the last two scenarios i was at Behind Enemy Lines, and Battle of Bocage, had a great time, for Bocage I won the best tank award(free tshirt) They also have an MX track if u Quad/Dirtbike. Gary comes up with some of the coolest ideas for scenarios to make it fun for beginners and the more experienced people
Fields 9/10(no airball fields, for speedballers)
Prices 10/10 very low compared to other fields
People's home feilds. Players in our area get really into it.
I went to this feild for my first time for the WWI big game in October. I wasn't really sure what to expect. It was the best experiance I could've hoped for. The first thing I noticed was that for a $20 surcharge you could being your own paint. (I don't know if they still do this) Then I realized that the nice guy behind the counter was the owner. Gary truely cares about making the games fun for everyone. The refs promoted safe and fair play and the scenarios were very fun. They also just recently built an incredible paintball tank. Another thing I enjoyed was seeing author and "Minnesota Militia" member Don Grubish at the game. If it's good enough for him, It's good enough for anyone.
Last edited on Friday, May 12th, 2006 at 8:30 pm PST
Hidden Valley is a great place to play they encourage honesty and good sportsmanship.
The place has 90 acres (?) of playing ground plus a big MX track.
Gary ( the owner ) is very nice and understanding.
The refs are great and fun and do as good of a job as they can for woods ball refs.
Junk Yard: vans,trucks,and junk to run hide and shoot from behind.
Village: one tower and multiple little huts to hide in.
Woods: two woods courses ( Warning! the hills are a killer )
Baghdad: 2 school buses, a gas station, and a LOT of bunkers.
I'm sure that I am getting the names mixed up, but on the field that's how they are known.
Hidden Valley also has scenario games (which are the only ones that I know of in the La Crosse Area, for others you'll have to drive a ways.)
They are a great amount of fun,and its a great chance to meet players and teams from the surrounding states that come to these scenarios events with their most elite of players.
Over all, Hidden Valley is a great place to play, good people and a heck of a good time.
Splat Tag, Special Forces Paintball, Combat Paintball
My first ever trip to Hidden Valley Paintball was to do a book signing. I took pictures inbetween selling books, so I could go back to my team and let them know what I found. This last weekend I went back down there to play at their end of the year tournament. I must say that I was thoroughly impressed with the fields. Gary the owner, his wife, daughter, and the head ref (Rick) all treated me with the UTMOST grace and generocity. I was blown away with how incredibly nice and accommodating they were, both times I have been there. The scenarios were great for the "Behind Enemy Lines" game. A lot of thought went into the story line, and some new great scenario ideas came out of that weekend. Hidden Valley Paintball in Ettrick, Wisconsin is more like a hidden gem in scenario paintball. If you can, you certainly have to check them out. They know how to put on a great show, and they know how to put on a great night game. Gary is freakin' nuts when it comes to flash grenades and fireworks! I give this place a 10, definitely!!!
This is the only field I have ever played at, but I have played at peoples home made courses in the area.
Hidden Valley is a really cool place to play paintball at. They have really fun courses and the people are really nice. The prices are descent and are worth paying to play. Its a good course to play at if your a beginner, and they make paintball more fun and less competitive. I think every year they have a historic battle they play at, which is the battle of the Bocage (World War II). I havn't personally attended this battle but a few of my friends participated and they said it was a awesome experience. I would recommend this course if your in the area.
I have played at hidden valley 2 times so far, 1 time as a walk on,the other time was at their last nite game. both times were great. Gary ,and I believe his wife's name is ,Linda have put a lot of work into their fields. the newest one they call Baghdad. it's pretty cool. if woods-ball is your game go to hidden valley,you will love it.on the other hand ,if your Joe speed ball you may not like it too well. but hay, you can't please everyone. paint prices are not too out of line.I paid 63 bucks for a case of worr dominator paint, I thought the paint was great. the only problem is that they don't have comp air, but most woods ballers don't use comp air anyway. so go and give the field a try. news flash hiddenvalley can fill to 5000 psi. I was at their bocage thing,and they were filling air. cool.
Last edited on Monday, August 8th, 2005 at 9:58 pm PST
I played in Janesville in which it seemed they were very bossy. played at stalker in which was more of a fun place play cause there were more obstacles.
I find that at Hidden Valley the prices are very reasonable and the people are there to make paintball fun and not to make it a competition for the teams that are playing. They have about eight Fields and during a day they make sure you play at all before they repeat a course. Last year they had a scenario game with night game and this year they will have another so get on the web site and check it out.The people that run it are all professionals.The guys name is Bill Bailey .Also having two night games with pyro.