With any luck, you'll get a number of responses to this question.
My own experience goes back almost eleven years now. Patellar tendon graft reconstruction at the end of April, 1991. I was skiing with a Don-Joy brace by the following December. I hated the brace (not because it was Don-Joy, just because it was a brace) and chucked it after about two months.
I've heard highly educated opinions both ways about whether to use a brace - I think it's up to you and your doc. Assuming you've rehabbed like crazy and aren't over 50, my guess is you could ski without a brace. The best advice is to listen to your doc (not to us).
As to skis, I'm stumped. I can imagine scenarios in which a full-bore carving ski might be a bad choice for you during this coming season because of a possible tendency to get railed and drop you in the back seat. I suspect it depends on how (and how well) you ski. A model that's fairly forgiving might be a good idea for this year.
By the 2002-2003 season it honestly shouldn't matter - you'll be about as healed as you're ever going to get.
If it helps at all, I've been ecstatic about the results of my ACL reconstruction for all these years.
Good luck and take it easy for the first couple of months.