I recommend 5 opinions. You've got two already. First you need 2 more "real Dr" opinions. One from a good one that specializes in ACL rehab. The second from a Dr that specializes in ACL surgeries.
The last opinion is your own. You need to learn all that you can about ACL injuries and the options that are available to you. Because at some point you are going to have to make the call about what to do. You can go with the Dr you trust the most. You can do your own homework and make up your own mind. Or do a mix. But the bottom line is that you will be making your decision based on opinion instead of fact. You're also going to need to make a decision about how much risk you are willing to take this winter and how much $$$$ to spend to minimize risk (braces can be very expensive).
Here's one place to start your journey: Richard Steadman's web site
Another place to stop on your journey is: vermont ski safety
You may want to visit a Physical Therapist. I went to Inova at Worldgate year ago. They've got offices
all over VA. They probably have new people at Worldgate since I was there, but the ones I saw were good, REAL GOOD. A word of caution though: do not bring any weapons to PT sessions. You will want to kill them when they are through with you.
The traditional diagnosis is that if you hear the "pop", you're toast. But you should have had some noticeable swelling. Just because the lab guy can't see a tear does not mean you don't have one. There are some who advocate PT as an alternative to the traditional treatment (surgery), but this is just one camp's side. The fact that you've waited so long since the injury has complicated matters and possibly reduced your options.
You've got a lot work ahead of you and a long road to travel. Get cracking!