It never fails: Every single year, sometime around mid-winter, I start to feel sort of blah.

I’ve met a lot of people who say the long, cold Montana winters don’t bother them at all. To each his own, but in my opinion, a complete lack of wintertime blues in this sort of climate is a sure sign of insanity.

I mean, it’s hard to get excited about my day when I start it off with a runny nose and a windshield-scraping session in sub-freezing temperatures. My enthusiasm only dwindles as I proceed to fight frigid winds, blowing snow and slushy sidewalks on my way to work. Sometimes, I swear I’d give anything — anything! — for just one day of warmth and sunshine.

Fortunately, we live in an age in which we only have to give the price of a plane ticket. And after spending the weekend in the beautiful Arizona sunshine, I can honestly say that the cost of that ticket was 100 percent worth it — except, maybe, for the part where my favorite styling mousse was confiscated by TSA.

It’s hard to believe that sunny, 75-degree weather is only a two-hour flight away. When I landed in Phoenix, I felt like I had just emerged from some kind of time warp that had fast-forwarded me to summer.

I returned home feeling recharged, refreshed and reinvigorated. It really is amazing how much a couple of days’ worth of sunlight can change your outlook on life. (Even if, like me, you apply copious amounts of sunscreen and come home looking just as pasty as you did before you left.)

If you’re dying to get away, check out the flights offered by Allegiant Air. They have direct flights to Las Vegas, Los Angeles — and, of course, Phoenix — that leave from our very own Missoula International Airport. If you book early enough, you can land round-trip tickets for around $150, or even less.

Just make sure you pack travel-size hair products.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.