Kirby Ahlstrom

Job Title

Professional River Guide



With OARS Since


Kirby Ahlstrom - guide - Meet the Team


Annapolis, MD

Current Location

Columbia Falls, MT

Offseason Gig

Physical Therapist Assistant

About me

I work as a movement specialist with a variety of health modalities that involve our physical bodies and overall well-being. I discovered I was a bit of an anatomy nerd in my undergraduate studies, which led me to careers in massage, yoga, and physical therapy. Working in these professions has provided a great outlet for my creative and logical sides to blend and prosper. As an added bonus, the knowledge keeps me physically well so I can continue to interact with the outdoors safely, as that is my main passion in life.

The Best Part of My Job

I am able to witness a variety of people become empowered throughout my varying career endeavors. Whether that is finding strength and healing from an injury or allowing interaction with a landscape to turn from discomfort to solace. I am fortunate to facilitate these experiences, and it continues to motivate my own passions.

How I found OARS

Healthcare was an easy box to select in college, but finding my way to rivers and guiding was meant to be. I always dreamed I'd work in the outdoor industry. Maintaining a healthy body and mind, for me, means staying active and involved in my outdoor recreational pursuits. I have been blessed to find a good balance of service to others and myself, and OARS has allowed me to continue the dream of working as a professional dirtbag. (A term of endearment, I should add.) I started my guide career in Montana, which has unmatched terrain and pristine rivers, but if you want to make a career in this industry, Idaho whitewater is some of the best you can get. It was the time for growth and a new opportunity. OARS is a leader in the professional river-running community, and they actively evolve and initiate positive changes to support and encourage the guiding industry. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a professional-minded company.

My Favorite Spot on the River/Outdoors

The Green Room has captured me! I have never seen a rapid with such character. Beautiful!!

My Favorite Trip Memory

Nothing beats a private permit through the Grand Canyon with your best friends.

I Can’t Live Without

Disco ball.

Meet me on these adventures

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